Unseasonably warm weather holds as equinox nears
Winter officially ends on Wednesday, March 20, the vernal equinox. If you take a look at the forecast, though, you might think it ended a month ago.
Temperatures have been trending almost 10 degrees above normal for this time of year, which takes us from March weather to April conditions and explains a lot of this early breakup.
A month ahead of schedule
In Anchorage, our normal high temperature at the beginning of March is just below freezing, 30.1 degrees Fahrenheit. By the time we hit the equinox, high temperatures tend to be in the mid-30s, but low temperatures are typically still in the upper teens and low 20s — warm enough to melt a little snow, but not nearly warm enough to get this early breakup we've been seeing. That typically happens in April.
The normal high temperature at the beginning of April is 38.6 degrees Fahrenheit. So far, during the first 17 days of March, we have hit the 40 degree mark 8 times, which is about where we should be by the middle of April. Taking that into consideration, this early breakup makes perfect sense.
A balmy forecast
As much as I would like to see another bout of cold and one last snowstorm, it just isn't in the forecast, at least anytime soon. Our next week will trend above normal — highs in the mid-40s each day and overnight lows near or slightly above freezing. This means all of the melting around town will continue.
Looking further out, the warmth is here to stay. According to the Climate Prediction Center, we will remain above average for the next 8-14 days. Long-range temperature trends have most of Alaska experiencing above normal temperatures, with forecast highs remaining above freezing in the long-term.
Recent snow in high elevations might be tempting, but it comes at a risk. High avalanche danger remains in the backcountry. Mild weather will likely keep the snowpack unstable on steep terrain, so always check with your local avalanche forecast office for the latest conditions.
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