After a stretch of mild weather, Southcentral is set to experience a rude awakening from Old Man Winter. 

Temperatures in Anchorage have averaged above normal so far in 2019. Despite the bouts of cold, it has been mild enough in Alaska's biggest city that 2019 is a little more than 3 degrees above the year-to-year norm. So, when the forecast calls for below-normal temperatures, that is kind of a big deal. 

Here's the weather pattern from Thursday, Feb. 7

Our weather pattern has been dominated by a ridge of high pressure over the Gulf of Alaska for almost a week, but a change in the weather pattern will shift everything east. It all started with that little front and quick snowfall late Monday. By the middle of the week, an upper level trough or dip in the jet stream will start digging in to Southcentral Alaska. The upper-level pattern change will translate to the surface, bringing about seasonable conditions at first. 

Here's the weather pattern forecast for Thursday, Feb. 14

Winds will shift Tuesday night, coming from out of the north instead of from the south. This will usher dry, colder air from the Interior into Southcentral.

Dry air and light winds Wednesday night will allow temperatures to drop into the single digits by Thursday morning. Once in place, the cold will stick around for a couple of days. In fact, some forecast models have been calling for subzero temperatures Friday morning.

GFS model output from Tuesday morning

As meteorologists, it is our job to look at all of the elements of the forecast. Days ago, this same forecast model had us well below zero Friday morning. Instead of putting that straight into the forecast, we look at all of the different elements and every part of the atmosphere at every level to get an idea of what might actually happen. Sure it was bound to get cold, but how cold? 

Low single digits is about as cold as it will get in Anchorage. The blast of arctic air doesn't last long enough to support a more significant drop in temperatures. By this weekend, another change in the weather pattern will push the cold back north and we could climb above freezing by Saturday afternoon. 

If it's cold you want, you don't have to head too far north. The Mat-Su Valley will wake up to subzero temperatures Friday morning.

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