Snowy skies are in the forecast for today and tonight. Although Turnagain Pass is not favored for this storm, up to 3″ could fall by this evening and an additional 3 to 6″ tonight. The Portage zone and areas on the southern Kenai should see rain at sea level but up to a foot of snow by tomorrow morning at the mid elevations. The rain line should hover near 1,000′ and possibly lower. Will this system start building back the mid elevation snowpack? It could be a start, but another warm system looks to move in Monday night.
At the higher elevations, even small amounts of new snow will add weight to our existing snowpack. Sitting anywhere from 1 to 3′ below the snow surface is a thin layer of weak snow (buried surface hoar) . Friday’s earthquake gave this layer a good shake and triggering a large slide may becoming less and less likely, however it is still a concern. We can’t forget this layer is there in terrain above 2,500′, which can be easy as any obvious signs of instability are not likely to be seen. What we can do is listen for whumpfing, use safe travel protocol and choose lower angle slopes if we wish to avoid any uncertainty.
Moderate to strong ridgetop winds from the south and east are again over the area. Wind slabs lurking in catchment zones from yesterday as well as new slabs formed today are possible to find and trigger in steep terrain. Keep an eye out for yesterday’s wind loading patterns, which could be obscured by last night’s one to two inches of snow. Snowfall should accompany the strongest winds today, which are forecast for the afternoon.
Yesterday: Mostly cloudy skies were over the area with light snow showers adding 1-2″ of snow in the evening. Winds were strong out of the northeast at Sunburst weather station, yet the main flow direction was more southerly. Temperatures were in the low 30’s F at most mid and low elevations and in the upper 20’s F along ridgelines.
Today: Another round of light snowfall is expected later today (1 to 3″) that could continue through tonight (an additional 3 to 6″). Snow/rain line should hover around 1,000′. This system is coming in from the SW and more favorable for snowfall in the Anchorage area and Hatcher Pass. Associated winds will again be southerly and easterly in the 20-30mph range with stronger gusts. Temperatures will remain in the low 30’s near 1,000′ and the mid to upper 20’s along ridgetops.
Tomorrow: A short break in weather systems will give us mostly sunny skies for Monday. Models are showing that Monday night clouds and precipitation move back in as another large low-pressure pushes a moist frontal band over Southcentral.
*Seattle Ridge wind sensor is rimed over.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||32||2||0.2||12|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||28||1||0.1||2|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||31||0||0.15||0|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||27||*no data||*no data||*no data|