Live blog: Areas of blowing snow for Southcentral, with power outages in Mat-Su closing schools Tuesday

A blizzard warning is in effect for the Matanuska Valley through Tuesday
Chief Meteorologist Melissa Frey's Weather Update for Monday evening
Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 8:15 AM AKST|Updated: Nov. 20, 2023 at 3:56 PM AKST
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9:50 pm. Monday

The Matanuska Electic Association reported minutes ago that it’s restored large outages (over 3,000 customers) in the Knik Goose Bay/Hollywood area and Fairview Loop area.

There are now approximately 3,000 customers without power, according to MEA.

8:45 p.m. Monday

All 9-1-1 phones and non-emergency lines are currently down in the Mat-Su Valley.

To reach emergency services, call 907-459-6800.

8 p.m. Monday

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District announced that schools on Tuesday will be closed due to widespread power outages.

7:40 p.m. Monday

Howling winds throughout the Mat-Su Borough are causing thousands of residents there to experience power problems. The outages affected several businesses and schools and canceled many after-school activities. Currently, the Matanuska Electric Association is reporting over 17,000 customers without power, or 25% total.

“We’re getting closer to getting this big transmission line outage restored. In the meantime, we have a new outage of 1234 members off of Fairview Loop. We have a crew nearby and will get to it soon. Thank you,” MEA wrote online at 7:25 p.m.

A blizzard warning remains in effect for Palmer, Wasilla and Thompson Pass through early tomorrow morning. The winds are expected to calm down overnight though.

To learn more about the conditions in the Mat-Su, and weather around the state, watch Chief Meteorologist Melissa Frey’s forecast above.

3:30 p.m. Monday

A powerful storm system continues to move north into the Gulf of Alaska, bringing extreme winds along with heavy snow and rain to Southeast, and high winds to portions of Southcentral.

Peak wind gusts as of 3:30 p.m. include a 103 mph gust on Rocky Island and 71 mph in downtown Juneau. A blizzard warning remains in effect for Juneau until 6 a.m. Tuesday for high winds and more than a foot of snow. Winter Storm Warnings are also in effect near Skagway, Haines, Gustavus, Hoonah, and Angoon for 10-20″ of snow and wind gusts of 40-50 mph. As of 2:45 p.m., Hoonah reported 21 inches of snow. A high wind warning is in effect near Ketchikan and Yakutat for wind gusts to 60 mph. The landslide risk is also high near Ketchikan.

In the Mat-Su, winds are gusting to near 70 mph, causing blowing snow and white-out conditions. A blizzard warning is in effect for Palmer and Wasilla through 6 a.m. Tuesday. Strong winds are also likely along Knik Arm and Cook Inlet.

100+ MPH and 15+ inches of snow have already been reported in southeast as a strong winter storm moves in. ❄🌬🌧 This...

Posted by Melissa Frey on Monday, November 20, 2023

8:15 a.m. Monday

For the second consecutive morning in a row, Anchorage saw lows dip to zero degrees at the airport. Even colder conditions were seen elsewhere across Southcentral, where lows dipped below zero. It felt even colder though as many locations are beginning to see winds slowly increase across the region. As a result of this, wind chill readings this morning are hovering near -10 in many spots, with the exception of the Copper River Basin. The basin is seeing wind chill readings well below -35 degrees this morning. Needless to say, it’s a piping hot cup of coffee and a thick jacket kind of morning.

While sunshine and cold conditions will stick around for Southcentral, we’ll begin to see winds increase through the day. These winds come as a tightening pressure gradient builds across the region, from an area of low pressure in the northern Pacific Ocean and a ridge over Mainland Alaska. This will help lead to strengthening northeasterly winds through the day, which has prompted a blizzard warning for the Matanuska Valley beginning at 9 Monday morning. While the recent cold snap did lead to much of the snow freezing into ice, areas of blowing snow can still be expected today. Gusts as high as 70 mph through the Matanuska Valley will lead to ground blizzard conditions, while winds up to 40 to 50 mph in Anchorage will lead to areas of blowing snow. Be prepared for the possibility of reduced visibility later today.

While Southcentral will be dealing with biting cold and windy conditions today, a winter storm is taking aim on Southeast. The same area of low pressure leading to strengthening winds in Southcentral, will dump up to a foot or more of snow on parts of the Panhandle. The heaviest snow will occur through the Northern Inner Channels and through the Central Panhandle. While the primary precip type will be snow, a transition to a wintry mix will occur tonight into Tuesday as warmer air builds back into the region. This could prove difficult on the roads, particularly for the Klondike and Haines Highway. Further south through the panhandle, just a few inches of snow looks possible this morning. The warmer air is already building into the Southern Inner Channels, where highs in the 40s today will lead to a transition back to rain. It’s here where up to 2+ inches of rain looks possible for Ketchikan and surrounding areas. High winds will also be an issue for the day for much of Southeast, where gusts up to 60 mph can be expected through midnight.

While the winter storm lets up overnight into Tuesday, the active gulf weather stays with us leading up to Thanksgiving. This will keep rain and snow in the forecast for Southeast, with highs by Thanksgiving topping out in the 40s. For Southcentral, we’ll see a gradual return to warmth with rain and snow in the forecast for Thanksgiving as well. While highs will be significantly cooler than Southeast, we’ll still make a run into the low to mid-30s. Not only is this unseasonably warm for this time of year, but additional melting and hazardous road conditions look possible through the week.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving week!