Tropical Tidbits from the Tundra

Today's Forecast: Sunny!

By: Levi32, 9:05 PM GMT on December 19, 2005

Today will be the first day in weeks that southern Alaska has seen the sun in all its glory. The chain of lows that have been slamming the state one after another has a short break in it. The current low affecting the state is moving northwest and the front is stalled over Kodiak. I thought it would help if I posted a satellite loop instead of a static image. That was probably kind of dumb. So now you can see that there is a ridge over western Canada and SE Alaska pushing west and eating away the front! The clouds are already almost gone in Homer, and the skies will clear for most of southcentral today!
Unfortunately another low will move into the Gulf of Alaska from the south and bring more rain in a couple of days. It will hang around awhile, so expect another week of dreary weather. The good news is cold air might start seeping in by next week, so maybe winter will stake its claim once again.

In the meantime, enjoy the sun and dry weather!

Here is Radar, Satellite, and a 500mb analysis chart of the Northern Hemisphere:

Alaska Enhanced IR Satellite Loop
N. Hemisphere 500mb Chart
South Central Radar Loop

Updated: 5:56 PM GMT on January 26, 2006

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Stormy Pattern, But What Type of Pattern

By: Levi32, 12:26 AM GMT on December 13, 2005

Sorry that I haven't posted recently. My life is so crazy right now it is hard to find the time.

Well the ridge did move east and direct storms back into the southern part of the state. But it didn't move far enough to keep cold air in place. It rained all of last week and I've had it with slush. We lost 2 feet of snow to the warmth. The ridge has temperarily moved east and is now replaced by an upper low and more seasonable temperatures. The ridge will rebuild however, and we can already see that begining to happen with a big front over the western Aleutians. There is a shortwave trough directly south of the state moving east. This is keeping the ridge out west from amplifying until it gets farther east. There is a low east of the Kamchatka Peninsula from which the front mentioned above extends out from. Along the southern portion of this occluded front we find a very mean looking bunch of moisture wrapping around a newly formed wave low. This low will move with the front north until it reaches the state. This is where all our problems begin.
The models are of almost no help. There is absolutely no run to run consistency in any of them. And none of them agree. Some point roughly toward the ridge building back into the state and giving us another round of warmth and rain. Others push lows farther east, bringing colder temps and more snow than rain. There are some rock solid points to be made though. First of all the models all point toward a cold upper low moving out of the arctic south into the western Bering Sea in 4-5 days. This could have implications as to where the trough positions itself. Next let me point out that the mean wave positions for the last 2 weeks have remained the same, and are forecast to continue in place for the next 2 weeks. The trough has been over the central and eastern United States lately while the ridge is over the pacific northwest. This has been establishing the trough west of 170w which directs the storms up into southern Alaska. This means that it is not unlikely that the ridge will rebukld over the state again, since it did so last week. But the wavelengths are changing, so the position will not be exactly where it was last week. This is a very unstable pattern, and I will keep you posted as this next week unfolds, for it is hard to say what will happen.
Now let's talk about the next system to effect the area. This is the low on the front in the western Pacific. As I said before this one will move north towards an unknown position. The current thinking by the NWS is that it follows the GFS solution and moves west of Bristol Bay. This would mean that the precip starts out as snow but than switches over to rain again for another week. The other popular solution among the models is that the low slips under the ridge and everything becomes kind of a stalemate. The last possibility is that the low comes north farther east, which would put us in the snow for a week. Will keep you posted on the situation.

Here is radar, satellite, and a 500mb chart for the northern hemisphere:

Kenai Peninsula Radar
Alaska IR Satellite
N. Hemisphere 500mb Chart

Updated: 6:27 PM GMT on December 13, 2005

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Another Messy Week!

By: Levi32, 6:35 PM GMT on December 05, 2005

Couldn't post last couple days because internet was out.

Today the ridge has at last collapsed, and now we have to deal with storms again. We have a broad southeasterly flow over the southern portion of the state. this has been causing some overruning snow over the Kenai Peninsula and Bristol Bay. We got about 3 inches overnight. The snow has stopped now, but the next batch is on the way. This pattern will continue for this week, with a chance that it gets warm enough to change this snow to rain.

More detailed post later.

Here is radar and satellite:

Kenai Peninsula Radar
Alaska IR Satellite

Updated: 6:36 PM GMT on December 05, 2005

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About Levi32

Levi Cowan has been tracking tropical systems since 2002, and is currently working on his bachelor's degree in physics at UAF.

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MesoWest NERRS METEOROLOGICAL SITE AT KAC AK US
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