Omega block keeping wet, cool, cloudy conditions around

Alaska remains cloudy and wet, with wildfires raging in Canada
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 8:12 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - It’s the year without a summer — at least so far this year.

So what’s causing it? Will we see any summertime warmth? When will the sunny skies make a return?

These are questions you may be asking yourself as we gear up for the longest stretch of daylight for the year with lackluster weather. The same weather pattern that is also driving our cool and wet weather is also leading to scorching heat and dangerous wildfires throughout Canada. Those wildfires are contributing to some of the worst air quality the northeast United States has seen in years and it’s all thanks to a blocking pattern; an omega block to be exact.

An omega block gets its name because the shape of the jet stream resembles the Greek letter omega Ω. In this blocking pattern, a ridge of high pressure remains sandwiched between an area of low pressure anchored on both sides. Currently there remains one over the extreme far reaches of the Northeastern US and a series of lows from Canada into Alaska. This blocking pattern is notorious for remaining very stubborn, with little in the way of movement. It’s the omega block that can lead to days on end of the same weather, as the blocking pattern limits movement of any storms or migratory systems from moving through.

These areas of low pressure tend to lead to cooler, cloudier, and wetter weather, while the ride of high pressure coincides with clearer and hotter fire conditions. That’s why Canada continues to deal with wildfires that are suffocating the Northeast U.S.

So will this pattern let up? For now, no. The area of low pressure in the Bering Sea will meander in the Bering, locked in place through the rest of this week, keeping more of the same weather in place. This means from the Aleutians, Southwest Alaska, and into Southcentral, temperatures will continue to remain below average with daily rain chances. The heaviest rain will remain in Southcentral, where Seward through Whittier could see 1 to 2 inches of rain into the evening hours. Lighter amounts will fall elsewhere across Southcentral, but all of us will hold onto the cool and cloudy conditions. The only exception will be the Copper River Basin, where temperatures will top out in the upper 60s and lower 70s. This will be short-lived, as rain looks to build into the basin through the evening hours and into tomorrow morning.

While Southcentral deals with rain, Interior and Southeast Alaska will see a touch of the ridge’s influence. For Interior, this will mean partly cloudy skies and highs warming near 80 degrees. While the ridge’s influence is minimal, this will allow for some diurnal storms to form during the afternoon hours. They will be very spotty in nature and mainly confined to the eastern Interior.

Southeast will also see fairly quiet conditions, with highs warming into the 60s under a mix of sun and clouds. This same pattern will lead to another beautiful Thursday before rain and cooler conditions return this weekend into next week. It’s very likely that Southeast falls back into the 40s and 50s by Monday, as heavier rain returns.

So what does this mean for the rest of the summer?

Weather model patterns show the low anchored in the Bering could let up some next week. This will allow for temperatures to return back to the 60s and some sunshine for Southcentral. Unfortunately, there are signs this will be short-lived. A true summer pattern doesn’t look likely to emerge until we head into the latter half of June, but it’s still too early to tell for certain.

For now, expect summer to be put on hold, as the cool, wet, and cloudy weather pattern persists.

Thanks Omega!