Redoubt restless - Snowy February?

By: Levi32 , 5:27 PM GMT on December 18, 2008

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There's lots of excitement in southcentral Alaska today. After dumping several inches of snow on the Kenai Peninsula yesterday, a slow-moving low pressure system is beginning to move off towards the east. Scattered snow showers remain north of Clam Gulch and reaching into the Anchorage Bowl. These showers will gradually diminish by tomorrow afternoon. Strong winds and single-digit temperatures on the back side of the low will generate nasty wind chills tonight and tomorrow throughout the area.

Down in Homer and Anchor Point some places are still experiencing blizzard conditions with 3-5 inches of new snow so far today. You may ask how is that possible if I see nothing on the radar loop? That's because the part of the peninsula south of Anchor Point is experiencing their version of lake-effect snow, similar to the Great Lakes region in the lower 48. In the SW quadrant of a storm such as this one that brings in an arctic airmass behind it, strong winds blow over the waters of Cook Inlet. These waters are much warmer than the air flowing over them, and so the atmosphere becomes unstable because warmer air near the ocean surface wants to rise. Shallow storm cells form over the water as a result, and are undetectable by radar because they are too low. Despite being shallow, these snow showers can get very intense and can drop several feet of snow at times if the low to the northeast sits in the same spot for a while. People along the coastline of Kachemak Bay get this the worst because the winds funnel right up the bay and stay over water longer than if they were just crossing the inlet.

The current snowfall will begin to taper off in about 12 hours as the 500mb vort max, currently over Bristol Bay, moves to our east and the flow aloft becomes dry out of the northwest, as opposed to the current moist flow out of the southwest.

As for the longer term, the developing pattern with a waning La Nina and cold over the eastern United States is going to set up a trough over Alaska for the next 10-15 days, which will flatten any ridge which tries to nudge it out of the way. This will set up 2 primary storm tracks: 1) Straight from the south out of the eastern Pacific and up into the gulf. 2) Riding the Aleutian chain from the west and southwest and skimming under or over the southern Alaskan coasts and into the gulf or southern interior. This will mean lots of snow during these systems and cold arctic air behind each one as they pass, spaced 2-3 days apart. Overall it's looking like February will be a very wintry month!

We shall see what happens!





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Volcano Information:

Mount Redoubt's unrest continues to intensify today. Seismographs and reports from the Alaska Volcano Observatory show increased action under the mountain. According to AVO no eruption has yet occured, despite several very intense episodes of seismic activity this morning. Current watch level is still at ORANGE. More information can be obtained from the AVO website.

Current Seismograph near the summit of Redoubt:



Current Ash trajectory forecasts (valid 10:00pm AKST tonight):



Current Redoubt Webcam:



Current Redoubt Webcam from across Cook Inlet:




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62. ronni9
7:54 PM GMT on April 19, 2009




JUST STOP BY TO SAY ----------


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Member Since: December 3, 2007 Posts: 5 Comments: 850
61. shoreacres
6:07 PM GMT on February 22, 2009
Hi, Levi,

Just a hello and a fun little "something" for you - all the details are on my blog. Hope all is going well and Redoubt stays quiet!

Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
60. mrtexas
7:08 PM GMT on February 18, 2009
ELI,

You really think Kenai/Homer is going to miss the action of this storm system? snow or just rain?
59. seflagamma
7:26 PM GMT on February 14, 2009
Good afternoon Levi,

Hope you are enjoying your weekend!

happy Valentine's Day to you!!!

Valentine's Day
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58. surfmom
2:47 PM GMT on February 11, 2009
Morning Levi -- checking in on you......
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
57. AKSnowLuvr
6:04 AM GMT on February 10, 2009
Sometimes mountains are high enough to form their own little weather climate... Mt. Rainier used to do that all the time. :) You never know...
Keeping my fingers crossed. I don't like the intermittent thaws, either, but then the chickens start laying eggs like crazy, so it's ok. :)
Member Since: December 26, 2006 Posts: 278 Comments: 1251
56. Levi32
5:26 AM GMT on February 10, 2009
Hey! We only got a passing flurry this afternoon. I was looking at the webcams today and saw Redoubt's steam plume......only to see that Augustine looked like it had a steam plume too! It does that sometimes.......I don't understand why a steaming volcano can be code green...

Looks like potential ash clouds will be moving in your general direction over the next couple days, stay safe :) Might get a rainy/slushy mix in 3-4 days.......not looking forward to it :(
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
55. AKSnowLuvr
4:42 AM GMT on February 10, 2009
Hi Levi! How's it going down there? We got a dusting of snow today, but nothing much. How about you?
Member Since: December 26, 2006 Posts: 278 Comments: 1251
54. surfmom
2:27 AM GMT on February 09, 2009
Quick visit to see if there were any updates....wish this lady would just chill.....
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
53. Levi32
7:14 PM GMT on February 07, 2009
Wow....here's part of the JTWC discussion for Cyclone Gael this morning:

071500Z POSITION NEAR 20.8S 51.9E.
TROPICAL CYCLONE (TC) 13S (GAEL), LOCATED APPROXIMATELY 220 NM WEST
OF LA REUNION, HAS TRACKED SOUTHWARD AT 05 KNOTS OVER THE PAST 06
HOURS. INCREASING VERTICAL WIND SHEAR AND A RESULTANT LOSS OF DEEP
CONVECTION OVER THE LOW LEVEL CIRCULATION CENTER HAVE WEAKENED TC
13S TO AN ESTIMATED INITIAL INTENSITY OF 105 KNOTS.
A 32 NM EYE WAS
APPARENT IN A 071130Z MULTISPECTRAL SATELLITE IMAGE DESPITE THE
REDUCED CONVECTION.

They go on to forecast weakening throughout the forecast period. Now....remember last night they were forecasting Gael to hit Cat 5 in 27C waters with almost no ocean heat content and increasing shear at 48 hours from now. That seemed odd to me.....so now Gael weakens a bit and they have the intensity forecast right now, but they didn't get the correct reason for WHY he's weakening right now. "INCREASING VERTICAL WIND SHEAR"....

Look....



Does that look like increasing? That's the best upper ridge and outflow setup I've seen over Gael so far, and there is almost zero wind shear over his core right now. The reason he's weakening is because of dry air, which you can clearly see by looking at any satellite loop. You can see part of the core getting eaten by dry air, which Gael has been struggling with for the past 2 days. This dry air is probably getting entrained off of Madagascar into the circulation, along with some dry air to the southwest. Gael has also moved into an area of very low ocean heat content, which can't sustain a major hurricane.

All due respect to the JTWC.....and I'm obviously no expert....but I would really like to see their reasoning behind the last 2 forecast discussions.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
52. Levi32
7:13 PM GMT on February 07, 2009
Thanks Gamma =) Have a great weekend!!
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
51. seflagamma
4:22 PM GMT on February 07, 2009
Good morning Levi,

Thank you for all the info you are leaving for us over on Tori's blog!

Take care and Happy SAturday!


Good Weekend!
Awesome MySpace Comments & Myspace Layouts

Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 297 Comments: 40881
50. Levi32
11:55 PM GMT on February 06, 2009
Google earth view from Toamasina, Madagascar looking towards the eye of Cyclone Gael to the southeast. Toamasina and other parts of the east coast of Madagascar are getting 20-30mph winds from the outer bands of Gael.



^click to enlarge^
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
49. Levi32
6:10 PM GMT on February 06, 2009
Tori I think you got more snow than me lol. I topped out at 1 inch after a 30-minute white-out burst. That batch moved through here quite fast. It's been partly cloudy ever since and quite nice actually.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
48. Levi32
6:09 PM GMT on February 06, 2009
Thanks surfmom =) I hope you're right about her only having a tummy ache......have a nice day!
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
47. AKSnowLuvr
6:09 PM GMT on February 06, 2009
Are you buried in snow yet? It was storming like crazy in Kenai yesterday! Warming up quite nicely this morning.
Member Since: December 26, 2006 Posts: 278 Comments: 1251
46. surfmom
6:07 PM GMT on February 06, 2009
Aloha Levi --- Sunbeams delivered!!! Checking to see if Redoubt is behaving... Take Care
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
45. Levi32
6:03 PM GMT on February 06, 2009
Satellite/Microwave of Cyclone Gael (948mb 100kts Cat 3):



^Click to enlarge^

Gael has been fighting some light southwesterly shear and dry air, but the shear has weakened to under 5kts and he seems to be gradually mixing out the dry air. The core has improved in structure overnight, and microwave imagery show a nearly closed eyewall. The eye is still partially cloud-filled. A mid-latitude trough south of Madagascar is eroding the ridge south of Gael. In response Gael is turning poleward, and will stay a fish storm, with only his outer bands raking parts of Madagascar and the French island of La Reunion. This trough is also enhancing Gael's poleward outflow channel, which is playing a big part in aiding his current strengthening. Gael will steadily intensify over the next 24 hours, likely reaching minimal Cat 4 status. I don't believe that Cat 5 is possible. After 24 hours Gael will be moving into an area of lower ocean heat content south of 21S, and will level off in intensity and eventually begin to weaken as he phases with the trough to the south and encounters increasing wind shear. Enjoy watching this fish storm in action :)
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
44. Levi32
12:10 AM GMT on February 05, 2009
Will do HGW :)

Yeah Taz and things could get wild up here next week. I'm gonna write something on it today or tomorrow. You should have some fun too, CA is going to get slammed with a ton of rain over the next 2-3 weeks.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
43. Tazmanian
10:48 PM GMT on February 04, 2009
AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SACRAMENTO CA
410 AM PST WED FEB 4 2009

00Z AND 06Z RUNS OF THE GFS BOTH BOMB
OUT ANOTHER 955MB TO 960MB SURFACE LOW WEST OF THE ALEUTIANS BY 12Z
SUNDAY. GFS SUGGESTS A VERY STRONG AND WET FLOW UNDERCUTS THE
PACIFIC RIDGE INTO OREGON / NORCAL BY THE MIDDLE OF NEXT
WEEK

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42. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
10:44 PM GMT on February 04, 2009
Stay safe Levi =)
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44712
41. Levi32
8:53 PM GMT on February 04, 2009
Just playing around with Google Earth :)

Radar shot of snow moving into Sitka on the southeast panhandle:
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us


^Click to enlarge^

Snow is moving into most of southern Alaska today. We on the Kenai Peninsula won't get much until tomorrow when the southwesterly flow really opens up into our area. Could see several inches when it's all said and done. Winter Weather Advisories are out for the northern and central panhandle.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
40. upweatherdog
2:27 AM GMT on February 01, 2009
I hope that volcano doesn't errupt. The ash in the atmosphere from a Alaskan volcano last summer kept my summer colder :( LOL
Member Since: October 14, 2007 Posts: 173 Comments: 1372
39. surfmom
1:27 AM GMT on February 01, 2009
Hi Levi, checking in to see how things are going.... mighty cold where you are.
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
38. Levi32
5:42 PM GMT on January 31, 2009
Radar out of Middleton Island shows the low near Prince William Sound finally starting to move east and out of our area. Snow should end by this afternoon here in Homer. This was a classic Homer lake-effect event.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
37. Levi32
5:38 PM GMT on January 31, 2009
Good morning, thanks Gamma =) Fortunately the volcano seems a little nicer today, for now anyway..
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
36. seflagamma
2:56 PM GMT on January 31, 2009
Hi Levi,

I also left your greetings over in AK (Tori's) blog since you post updates there also.

Just stopping by to say hello and let you know we are watching this volcano with you.
Take care,
Gams


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35. upweatherdog
1:53 AM GMT on January 31, 2009
It's -12F at my place in upper Michigan.

I can't get any lake effect snow anymore becasue western lake Superior is ice covered :(
Member Since: October 14, 2007 Posts: 173 Comments: 1372
34. AKSnowLuvr
1:41 AM GMT on January 31, 2009
That is a cool picture, Levi!!
You be careful down there! Those wind chills are NASTY!!
Member Since: December 26, 2006 Posts: 278 Comments: 1251
33. Tazmanian
12:18 AM GMT on January 31, 2009
it looks like the way the mode runs are pointing out it looks like the ASH wil be makeing its way too WA OR and CA
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114709
32. shoreacres
11:58 PM GMT on January 30, 2009
Beautiful satellite image. You've really got it going on up there, don't you? Have a good evening - hope it's peaceful!
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
31. Levi32
11:54 PM GMT on January 30, 2009
Awesome high-res visible satellite shot of the lake-effect snow here in Homer. A classic representation showing the lanes of showers flowing right up Kachemak Bay. Blizzard warnings out until 6pm.


Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
30. AKSnowLuvr
10:25 PM GMT on January 30, 2009
We got about a foot of new snow over the last couple of days. Still snowing, and the winds have picked up, though my sensor must be frozen because it says it's calm. Need to go get a long stick and knock it loose. :)

Still dancing...
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29. Levi32
9:38 PM GMT on January 30, 2009
Yeah I'm sure we'll be fine, but it could cause some problems in Anchorage.

It's nasty down here, blizzard conditions lol. We're having our version of lake-effect snow, which is annoying because it sneaks under the radar when it looks like the coast is clear lol.

I wouldn't quite call it a deep freeze this time. We're in a pattern now where every couple days a new storm noses up from the south pushing some warmer air in (but not above freezing), and then brings in more frigid air behind the low. Next week could actually turn out to be very snowy for both of us.
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28. AKSnowLuvr
8:20 PM GMT on January 30, 2009
Hey Levi! I think we'll both be ok. Unless this thing turns out to be bigger than anyone expects. The winds ARE picking up here right now, starting to gust and knock all that lovely snow we got yesterday off of the trees. But then back to a deep freeze again, eh? Or can we count on this for a little longer?
Member Since: December 26, 2006 Posts: 278 Comments: 1251
27. Levi32
5:24 PM GMT on January 30, 2009
Thanks guys :)

I don't know much about volcanoes, but I don't think a lahar can make it across the inlet lol. We are lucky to have the water between us and that thing. If it were to blow I think we'd be fine with just a dusting of ash if the winds are blowing our direction. The winds over the next 2 days will be variable at different heights, but for the most part westerly or southwesterly, bringing the bulk of any ash plume over AKSnowLuvr in Sterling and the city of Anchorage. The only seriously damaging thing I can imagine could happen is if a landslide on the near side of the volcano hits the water and sends some sort of a tidal wave onshore, but I don't think that's very likely.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
26. OGal
4:36 PM GMT on January 30, 2009
Morning Levi, is there a chance that a lahar might get as far as you guys? Great seismic graph you posted in Tori's blog. I guess you just sit back and wait to see what happens with Redoubt. Stay safe and keep us all posted.
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25. shoreacres
3:56 PM GMT on January 30, 2009
Hi, Levi,

Keeping up to date with various sites. Thinking of you as everyone watches and waits...
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
24. surfmom
3:53 PM GMT on January 30, 2009
Levi - Checking in on YOU - worried about the shakes and the volcano...... talk about shake & bake !!! I'll be returning to see how things are going.....Be safe ...& I have a safety prayer in mind for you,family and loved ones!!!
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
23. Levi32
12:22 AM GMT on January 28, 2009
That's strange.....in all the earthquake stories people say it seems a lot longer than it actually is lol. I guess I got it backwards.

Yeah on top of all this we've got an active volcano now lol. I've got a feeling that has a ton to do with the earthquake. Probably set something off in there. I'm glad Redoubt's releasing some energy now.....if it had waited another 10 years any potential eruption would be much worse than if we have one now.

Thanks Gamma, yeah crazy isn't it. And you guys in Florida had a freeze warning at the same time we had flood warnings for melting snow lol. I always feel a little weird when places in Florida are colder than me....lol
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
22. AKSnowLuvr
9:52 PM GMT on January 26, 2009
Glad you're ok! :) It actually lasted 90 seconds... I was on the second floor when it happened, and timed it. :) That's the biggest one I've felt since the Denali quake in 2002. Have you checked out AVO? Redoubt's getting restless...
Member Since: December 26, 2006 Posts: 278 Comments: 1251
21. seflagamma
3:09 PM GMT on January 26, 2009
Hi Levi,

Glad all is well with the quake in your area.

Just noticed your temps.. you are warmer than Wabit's location in IL and many here in the lower 48.

Hope all is well and drop by and leave a post when you can.

Take care,
Gams
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 297 Comments: 40881
20. shoreacres
2:35 PM GMT on January 26, 2009
Morning, Levi,

Thanks for checking in! I've been in some dish-rattlers and one that was a little "roller", but nothing big. I prefer to keep it that way!

I've been reading a lot about the death of your "Eagle Lady", too. Homer's really in the news these days!
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
19. Levi32
5:37 AM GMT on January 26, 2009
Oh yeah all's good here, thanks for asking.

It was sure a scary one though! Haven't felt one that big in my life. It was making all sorts of things sway and it lasted 20 seconds, I thought it would never stop. We're lucky it was over 60 miles deep. Any shallower than that and it would have been way worse.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
18. shoreacres
12:12 AM GMT on January 25, 2009
Hi, Levi,

Heard this afternoon about the 5.7 that hit about 45 miles from you. Reports were that it was clearly felt as far away as Anchorage. If you happen by, let us know if all is well, and what it was like if you were there in Homer.
They said on the news there aren't any reports of serious damage or injury, so I'm not concerned about that. But I'll bet it got your attention!
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
17. Levi32
11:19 PM GMT on January 15, 2009
Lol pretty diverse huh? That's because if you look at the temp map:



You can see the cold air still in place in the northern and interior parts of the state. The warm funnel of tropical air from the south is just getting shoved above the cold slab causing overrunning snow, hence the winter storm warnings. Yesterday the arctic airmass was more firmly entrenched, but is being eroded some today with the constant southerly flow from Hawaii all the way to Barrow (70n latitude).

It's pretty wacky....

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16. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
8:03 PM GMT on January 15, 2009
hmm strong hurricane winds and warm temperatures... but there's Winter Storm Warnings in the state?
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15. Levi32
12:54 AM GMT on January 15, 2009
You too....it's getting nasty just about everywhere. I heard Anchorage airport, Glen Highway, and all Anchorage schools are shut down today, along with 105mph wind gusts.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
14. AKSnowLuvr
7:14 PM GMT on January 14, 2009
Be safe... the winds just kicked in something fierce up here. Luckily all the snow had melted before it kicked up, otherwise we might have lost power. The trees still had a LOT of snow on them. I'm sure glad I work from home...
Member Since: December 26, 2006 Posts: 278 Comments: 1251
13. Levi32
5:23 PM GMT on January 14, 2009
Lol I know it's crazy! Cold snaps as severe as this one usually break with a BANG, but this pineapple express kind of came as a surprise lol. We're getting mowed over with tropical air. My entire driveway is a glacier this morning and so are all the roads.

As for the rest of the winter, it won't stay like this lol, the cold will return, although I have no idea if it will get as cold as we just had the last couple weeks. A warmer spring is possible if La Nina holds in the Pacific, and a warm summer as well. If the Pacific goes neutral though it gets very unpredictable lol.

Prepare for ice! =/
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
12. AKSnowLuvr
4:23 PM GMT on January 14, 2009
Levi!!!! What happened? The thermometer was supposed to stop at +25F!!! Hubby heard something mentioned of another cold snap this winter, but a warmer spring... do you see that happening?
This is nuts... last week I was bundled up like the Michelin Man, this week I'm wearing a rain coat... *shakes head*
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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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