Winter storm to bring snow, blizzard conditions to much of southern Alaska
Last Updated: Thurs. Dec. 24 at 6:11 p.m.
A “White Christmas” is in store for much of the southern portion of Alaska, thanks to a strong area of low pressure situated in the Western Bering Sea.
As of Thursday morning, the system was pushing a warm front into Southwest Alaska, bringing snow to many areas of the Bristol Bay region as well as the Kuskokwim and Yukon Deltas. The combination of gusty winds and snow will cause blizzard conditions at times Thursday for the Kuskowim Delta, reducing visibilities.
The main area of low pressure will begin moving through the Aleutians Thursday afternoon bringing rain and snow showers and wind gusts of up to 75 mph for places like Atka and Adak.
The storm system will then make it’s way through the eastern Aleutians and the Alaska Peninsula during the early morning hours on Christmas Day, bringing gusty winds through gap areas and western capes, as well as a likely chance of rain and snow. Sustained winds of 40 to 55 mph are forecast for the Bristol Bay region, with gusts of up to 75 mph possible.
The low pressure system will then move across Kodiak Island on Friday, bringing warmer temperatures and heavy rain before making it’s way to the Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound. Potentially heavy wet snowfall will be possible for upslope areas on the Eastern Kenai, especially inland and at higher elevations. Gusty winds will also lead to areas of blowing snow and reduced visibilities at times through Turnagain Arm, Portake Valley, and the Kenai.
By late Friday night the storm will begin affecting Southeast Alaska, moving across the northeast Gulf Coast, before bringing snow to the remainder of the southeast on Saturday. As for Anchorage and the Mat-Su, it looks like a mostly quiet Christmas forecast. A few snow showers will be possible, but most snow will be limited due to downsloping on the Chugach Mountains.
The additional snow pack, combined with strong winds will increase the avalanche danger substantially throughout southern Alaska. Remember to check the Avalanche Information Center before heading out.
Forecast Snow Totals:
- St. Lawrence Island & the Bering Strait Coast: 2-4 inches
- Yukon Delta: 2-4 inches
- Kuskokwim Delta: 3-6 inches
- Western Prince William Sound and Kenai Mountains: 1-2.5 feet
- Northeast Gulf Coast: 5-9 inches
- Northern and Central Inner Channels (Haines & Juneau Borough): 4-10 inches
- Southern Inner Channels: 4-9 inches
- Misty Fjords: 1-2 feet
Watches, Warnings, & Advisories:
BLIZZARD WARNING: UNTIL 6 AM SATURDAY
St. Lawrence Island & the Bering Strait Coast
WINTER STORM WARNING: UNTIL 6 AM SATURDAY
HIGH WIND WARNING: MIDNIGHT FRIDAY-6 PM FRIDAY
HIGH WIND WARNING: 5 PM THURSDAY-MIDNIGHT
HIGH WIND WATCH: THURSDAY EVENING THROUGH LATE THURSDAY NIGHT
Central Aleutians, west of Atka
WINTER STORM WARNING: FRIDAY MORNING THROUGH FRIDAY NIGHT
Western Prince William Sound and Kenai Mountains
WINTER STORM WATCH: FRIDAY EVENING THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING
Northeast Gulf Coast, Haines Borough & Lynn Canal, Inner Channels from Kupreanok Island to Etolin Island, Misty Fjords.
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