Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Fairbanks, AK
FXAK69 PAFG 211434
Northern Alaska Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Fairbanks AK
534 AM AKST Tue Feb 21 2017
Aloft: At 500 hpa, a upper level low currently sits along an axis
from Point hope to Tanana. This low will be pushed northward
today in response to a shortwave approaching from the west. An
upper level ridge will build across the state on Thursday.
West Coast and Western Interior: An active period in the weather
will begin this evening out west. A quickly moving shortwave will
move through the Yukon Delta and lower Yukon Valley this evening
bringing with it a quick 2 to 3 inches of snow. Winds will pick up
a bit with this shortwave and some blowing snow will be seen,
particularly in areas where snow is falling. The next is a one-two
punch of a warm front and trailing cold front associated with a
strong low moving northeastward in the Bering Sea. The warm front
will move into the Yukon Delta and St. Lawrence Wednesday evening
and will reach the southern Seward Peninsula by early Thursday
morning. The cold front will affect St. Lawrence Island early
Thursday morning and and will push into the west coast during the
day on Thursday. 4 to 13 inches is possible from Wednesday
afternoon through Friday morning, with the heaviest amounts
expected over the southern slopes of the Brooks range in preferred
upslope locations given the moist southwesterly flow. Snowfall
amounts in some areas south of Kotzebue could be tempered a bit
by the possibility of freezing rain. Many Winter Storm Watches
were issued by the previous shift for the aforementioned system.
Winds will increase along the front. Expect easterly gale force
winds with blowing snow causing near blizzard conditions in many
areas along the coast; however, winds will not be nearly as strong
in the Western Interior. Will hold off on upgrading any of the
watches on this shift. See the Winter Storm Watch product for more
details. Looking ahead, the active pattern will continue on
Saturday as the models are in decent agreement that another
significant snowstorm will move push into the west coast.
Central and Eastern Interior: Skies are clearing this morning
across much of the Central and Eastern Interior. Along with the
clearing skies cold air moving in aloft will help to bring a brief
cold snap to the Interior. Temperatures west of Fairbanks this
morning have been in the 20 to 45 below range. Low temperatures
tonight will be blow 20 below in many areas.Clouds will build into
the interior from the southwest beginning late tonight helping to
begin to moderate temperatures. A quick shortwave will move
through Wednesday into Wednesday night bringing a quick 2 to 4
inches of snow to much of the Interior, particularly to areas
north and west of Delta Junction. The flow aloft will turn more
southwesterly on Friday. The models are in agreement that another
round of snow on Friday; however, there is a lot of disagreement
(both run-to-run and between the different operational models) on
the exact timing and potential snowfall amount with this system.
Specifically, the GFS is giving much higher QPF amounts when
compared to the ECMWF. Given the flow pattern the QPF amounts
given by the GFS are not unrealistic; however, there is still a
lot of time for the models to come into better agreement for this
system. Looking ahead, the southwesterly flow will continue for
the weekend, and the models are advertising another round of
significant snow Saturday night into Sunday.
North Slope: Some flurries or light snow today along the coast.
The next major storm system to affect the north slope will be on
Thursday evening into Friday with another system expected
Saturday night into Sunday.
Winter Storm Watch for AKZ207-AKZ208-AKZ209-AKZ210-AKZ211-AKZ212-
Brisk Wind Advisory for PKZ210.