Rain returns with cold looming in the forecast
After an absolutely stunning Thursday in Southcentral Alaska, rain is back in the forecast Friday as a blast of arctic air takes aim at Alaska.
We will see showers develop Friday morning as a potent front sweeps through the region. Those start just in time for the morning commute and last through the afternoon. The wind that accompanies the rain will keep temperatures on the warmer side during the day, we will likely see 50 degrees but the warmth doesn't last long.
It's rain and warmer temperatures for Anchorage, but elsewhere in the state, it's all about the snow and cold. For the Brooks Range, Upper Koyukuk Valley, and Alaska Range 8-12 inches of snow is possible by Saturday. That snow prompted Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories for the areas hardest hit.
The strong wind associated with this storm won't just impact Southcentral and the mountains around the state, the west coast is taking the brunt of it. Wind gusts as high as 65 miles per hour will blow across St. Lawrence Island and parts of the Seward Peninsula. All up and down the west coast, coastal flood warnings and advisories are in place as the storm moves ashore. The strong wind over a large expanse of open water pushes it up against shore, raising high tide levels by 5-10 feet.
Cold air will wrap in behind the storm itself, dropping temperatures across the state. We will go from above normal to below normal in just a matter of hours. In Anchorage, that means daytime high temps in the 50s will drop by about 10 degrees and overnight lows will drop to the low 20s!
Thankfully the stark drop doesn't happen overnight, but it does happen quickly. Saturday is our best chance at a break in the action. A few isolated sprinkles will hang around Saturday, but the drop in temperatures will have those sprinkles feeling cold. We top out in the mid-40s in the afternoon. The cold then sets in overnight. We slip back into the 30s, offering the opportunity for snow to fly.
We won't see any accumulation in Anchorage, but parts of the valley and Hillside have the opportunity to get a little to stick. It's all about the amount of moisture in the storm. Forecast models are falling out of agreement on whether or not we dry out Saturday and Sunday. If we see something fall from the sky it will be a rain, snow mix.
The colder air stays with us next week. We will go from temperatures almost 5 degrees above normal to about 5 degrees below normal by the start of the week.
A storm arriving in the middle of the week keeps snow in the forecast, it's still pretty far out and a lot can change in 5 days— especially in Alaska. But either way, snow flakes on the 7-day forecast remind us that winter weather is right around the corner. Time to get the winter gear out and prep the car before it's too late.
-Meteorologist Jeremy LaGoo