Snow Returns to South Central
So we will see a big change in the weather pattern this weekend and into next week for much of the southern half of the state.
So we will see a big change in the weather pattern this weekend and into next week for much of the southern half of the state. This weekends storm will be the biggest one we have seen in quite some time over the southwest and south central parts of the state. I’ll start off in south central. This system is going to bring some major snow and wind to the Prince William Sound and eastern side of the Kenai Peninsula. The onshore flow in the region when the brunt of this storm hits on Saturday and Saturday night will be out of the southeast. That will put the Matanuska Valley, Anchorage Bowl, & western Kenai Peninsula in the rain/snow shadow of the system. That’s why the snow forecast are so low for these regions. Pretend that the clouds are a sponge filled with water. As the clouds/sponge move onshore out of the southeast the first thing they hit are the Kenai and Chugach Mountains draining most of the moisture out of the clouds. By the time the clouds move over the mountains into the Matanuska Valley, Anchorage Bowl, & western Kenai there’s no moisture left in the clouds. The flow will change a bit late Sunday and early Monday and that’s when we’ll likely see a little snow in these regions. But the system will have lost a lot of its punch by then and will move out pretty quickly. Don’t worry though if you are in one of those locations that doesn’t see much snow. Another system is going to move in by the middle of next week and right now it looks as though the snow could be a little more widespread with this next system. The biggest concern with this system this weekend will be blizzard conditions throughout the PWS and eastern Kenai Peninsula. Gusty winds and heavy snow will mean low visibilities. I would avoid the Seward Highway between Girdwood and Seward this weekend as travel will be treacherous. Another danger this storm will present is for backcountry travelers. I know it has been a while since we’ve had a good snow and many are itching to get out and play in the snow. But this cold dry spell we have had has created a big weak layer in what snow we have on the ground. Avalanche danger will likely be very high this weekend in the backcountry. Stay up to date on conditions with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center.
Into the southwest you will see widespread wind, snow, and rain with this system. Several Blizzard Warnings are currently in effect along the Aleutian Chain and into the Bristol Bay region. However tomorrow temps will warm enough in the Aleutians that the snow will change to rain. It will stay all snow throughout the Bristol Bay region.
In the southeast you will feel the effects of this system beginning Saturday afternoon and evening. Initially you will see snow with this system, but throughout the day Sunday as warmer air moves onshore most of the snow will change over to rain at the lower elevations. So it will be a very sloppy finish to the weekend for you.
Be safe out there this weekend!