Scientific Forecaster Discussion
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Northern Alaska forecast discussion
National Weather Service Fairbanks Alaska
252 PM akdt Tue Oct 17 2017
active weather is expected along the Arctic coast as a low dives
south tonight. This will bring strong winds, snow and blowing snow
as well as some concerns for high surf. The models are in overall
good agreement in the short term; however, there are some small
differences between the models in the handling the placement of
the low that will move south tonight into the Arctic coast. Will
utilize the NAM in the short term to better resolve the winds on
the Arctic coast.
Aloft, at 500 mb, a 493 dam low 400 nm NE of Demarcation Point
will move to 350 nm NE of Barrow by 10 am Wednesday and to 50 nm north
of Barrow by 10 am Thursday. The low will continue to dive to the southwest
and sit over the Kotzebue Sound region by Friday morning and by
Saturday will move over the Yukon Delta where it will persist into
At the surface, a 992 mb low 60 nm north of Barrow will move to
Atqasuk as a 993 mb low by 4am Wed, then quasi stationary through
4pm Wed as a 999 mb low, and moving to near Kotzebue as a 996 mb
low by 4pm Thu.
North Slope and Brooks range: snow is expected as the low drops
down tonight. The cold air aloft combined with comparatively warm
ocean waters will result in relatively unstable conditions,
resulting in the potential for good snowfall rates tonight,
particularly from Barrow west where we have more northerly surface
winds. Winds will increase tonight with the strongest winds
expected early tomorrow morning along the coast from Wainwright to
Barrow as the low moves inland. The snow combined with the winds
will cause visibility to be reduced at times. Winter weather
advisories for snow and blowing snow are out for zones 201, 202
and 205 for tonight into tomorrow. These advisories look to be in
good shape so not planning any modifications. High surf advisories
are out for zones 201 and 202. Strong northerly winds late
tonight into early tomorrow morning will result in high surf in
zones 201 and 202. This good news with this event is that it is
relatively quick moving which should limit the potential for
coastal flooding. Winds will decrease Wednesday evening. Light
snow showers are expected to persist along the coast tomorrow
night into Friday. Another round of gusty winds Thursday night
into friday; however, the models differ some on the exact details
of this in terms of timing. With the official forecast we went
with the NAM.
Central and eastern interior: a shortwave trough associated with
the low will move south through the interior tomorrow. This will
bring a quick 1 to 2 inches of snow as it moves through. After the
main forcing associated with the trough moves through tomorrow,
there will still be a some showers around, mainly south and east
of Fairbanks. A general cooling trend is expected over the next
West Coast and western interior: as the low moves southward expect
showers to develop. Between 2 to 5 inches of snow is possible
between now and Thursday morning with the highest amounts expected
right along the coast due to unstable conditions resulting from
the cold air aloft combined with the relatively warm ocean
Coastal hazard potential days 3 and 4...northerly winds could
bring some high surf and/or coastal flooding concerns to the
northern Seward Peninsula coast Thursday night into Friday.
high surf advisory for akz201-akz202.
Winter Weather Advisory for akz201-akz202-akz204-akz205.
Small Craft Advisory for pkz225-pkz230-pkz240-pkz245-pkz245.
Heavy freezing spray warning for pkz235-pkz240-pkz245.
Gale Warning for pkz235.