Dreary finish as sled dogs close in on the burled arch
The front-runners are resting in White Mountain, getting ready to make the final push to Nome. The mandatory eight-hour rest will be just enough time for a change in weather to occur. Snow will taper off and wind will shift direction in front of the next storm, giving mushers ideal conditions to make the final push.
Golovin to White Mountain
The final stretch into the last mandatory break on the trail is relatively straight and almost completely flat. The trail runs along the main snowmachine route between Golovin and White Mountain. The trip takes about two hours in calm conditions and that's about what it will be.
Twenty degrees and cloudy with light winds out of the northeast. That is about as thrilling as it gets. For teams finishing up their mandatory eight-hour rest, they might see a quarter-inch of snow if they don't leave until early Wednesday morning.
Even after the weak storm departs, there doesn't look to be much more than snow in the forecast through this weekend for teams finishing up the Last Great Race. A lucky break considering just days ago Nome fought it's way out of a nasty blizzard.
White Mountain to Safety
When it comes to weather, the stretch from White Mountain to Safety is about the most-influenced section of trail. It can turn this relatively easy stretch of trail into an impassable nightmare. The trail follows the snowmachine trail to Nome. It travels through riverbeds and open tundra to rolling hills as it moves southwest toward the coast. Then it's exposed all the way to Safety as it runs along the beach.
Weather can be the biggest challenge of this stretch of trail, thankfully that is not the case this year. A little snow and wind out of the northeast will be the worst of it. Teams will have a tail wind leaving White Mountain, one just slightly faster than they run. A steady wind of 15 miles per hour with higher gusts will blow throughout the day. Temperatures will top out near 20 degrees on Tuesday before dropping into the mid-teens overnight.
Safety to Nome
The home stretch is a 22-mile sprint to the finish. Weather-depending this can be an incredibly difficult stretch, thankfully the 2019 race looks like it will come to an end with relatively little influence from the unknowns of Mother Nature. The trail from Safety to Nome is entirely exposed. As it leaves Safety, it follows the Nome-to-Council road, an unplowed stretch that can be covered in deep snow or wind-blow down to bare gravel. From there, it moves down to the beach for the final 11-mile push to the burled arch.
A chance of snow is a silly way of saying the weather across Western Alaska is wildly unpredictable. That being said, there is a chance of snow today and tonight as anxiously await the finish of the 47th Iditarod.
It's a small chance, more one of those that a passing thick cloud might bring a quick hit of flurries. Winds already started shifting. By the time teams leave Safety the wind will be out of the northeast at about 10 to 15 miles per hour. That light wind comes with some long-awaited cooler temperatures. Highs will top out in the mid-teens on Tuesday and stay there overnight.
Copyright 2019 KTVA. All rights reserved.
YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN: