Following Wednesday's wind storm that brought wind gusts in excess of 100 mph, we also saw a return to warmer conditions in Southcentral.

It's a trend that has been gripping the region all season long, with this fall likely to close out as the warmest on record. Despite the brief reprieve from the warmth that Anchorage just experienced, temperatures have once again surged 20-plus degrees above normal. That essentially led to melting snow pack — which was already on the low end — and one of the warmest Thanksgiving days Anchorage has seen since the early 2000s.

Typically during this time of year, highs would be in the mid-20s, with overnight lows dipping into the 10s. That's only happened twice over the past month, with the majority of days seeing highs well into the 30s and 40s. This Thanksgiving was no exception, but the extent of the warmth was enough to place it as the third warmest Thanksgiving that Anchorage has seen on record. 

 

It's also the second year in a row that Anchorage has seen a total snow depth of zero inches on Thanksgiving Day. While it's fairly common for there to be snow on the ground on Thanksgiving Day, there have been 14 years in recorded history when the snow depth at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport was a measly zero. 

Not only does the lack of snow play a huge role in our snow drought we've been seeing, but the warmth is also a key contributor to nearly all storm systems leaving us with just rain instead of snow.

While there have been a few exceptions, most of what has fallen across Southcentral this fall has been rain. The extent of the warmth that not only has a firm grip on Southcentral can be seen when analyzing the data, as nearly every day the past three months saw temperatures 3-plus degrees above average. 

So what was the warmest and coldest Thanksgiving on record? What about the year with the most snow on the ground? You don't have to go back far in the record books to find those, as Anchorage's data only goes back to 1953.

  Coldest Average Warmest
Thanksgiving Date November 24, 1994 - November 22, 2007
Temperature 27° 45°
Snow Depth 22" 5" 1"

For snow lovers, Thanksgiving of 1994 was one to thoroughly enjoy but it was also an odd year as the average snow depth on Thanksgiving day is right around 5".

While that has been hard to come by this season, there is a pattern change that looks to arrive just in time for December. This not only means colder air for Southcentral, but will also mean that any storm that impacts us will likely bring the return of snow to the region.

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