From clear to stormy on the Iditarod Trail, Storm Warnings in effect
As musher Nicolas Petit pushed through the Rohn checkpoint Monday evening, temperatures nearby were in the 30s and he had a strong wind at his back. Mild and clear is the best way to describe the weather for the first 36 hours of Iditarod 2019, but that is going to quickly change.
As mushers are now transitioning out of the Alaska Range and into the Interior they're going to run into colder temperatures, stronger winds, and increased chances for snow. A series of storms will move across Alaska this week and winter storm warnings and advisories are already in effect for the western side of the state.
Temperatures will start out in the teens in Nikolai but will quickly climb to the near 30 degrees in the afternoon. Clouds will continue to move in from the west, eventually bringing chances for light snow. Those chances will increase late Tuesday and although winds will stay light out of the east at 5-10 mph, this portion of the trail is known for being poorly marked and as a wind tunnel. This is a bad combination as visibility could become poor.
For mushers moving into Rohn, they're still running uphill, climbing to the highest point on the Iditarod trail just west of Rainy Pass. This portion of the trail is considered some of the most difficult. Fortunately, the weather won't be severe. This area still has snow on the ground and could see a bit more, but nothing significant. Temperatures will climb from the teens to near 30 degrees.
Rainy Pass Checkpoint:
Back at Rainy Pass, a trail that was clear and mild for the front runners is turning cloudy with chances for snow and increased winds. Temperatures are cooling down though with overnight lows in the single digits and highs in the mid-20s for now.