Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Fairbanks, AK

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FXAK69 PAFG 221300

Northern Alaska Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Fairbanks AK
500 AM AKDT Thu Mar 22 2018

A strong ridge of high pressure has set up as expected over the
Interior. This means clear skies, seasonable temperatures and
quiet weather for the Interior. This ridge also extends to the
north along an axis that takes it over Barrow, though it does not
reflect fair weather at the surface on the North Slope due to a
surface pressure gradient further discussed below.

Out west the upper level trough and associated 500mb low are
moving as expected through the Bering Sea, sending weather into
the West Coast and Western Arctic Coast. The low center will track
into Eastern Siberia tonight, causing the front moving up the West
Coast to weaken as the dynamics of the system fall apart. The
longwave trough will remain in place the next couple of days as
the high to the east is still expected to block the exit of the
trough along the West Coast, with another upper level low entering
the Bering Sea over the weekend.

High pressure has set up well over the Interior. This has made for
some beautiful March weather that will continue for the next
several days. Temperatures will also remain around seasonal.
Pretty quiet in the Interior.

On the West Coast the frontal system moving through the Bering Sea
and pushing along the coastal areas has panned out about as
expected. The south side of the Seward Peninsula had more intense
weather than initially anticipated with heavy snow and freezing
rain. This has passed though and the front is still expected to
wind down later today. Weather hazard products issued for the West
Coast should follow suit and be ending later today. Inclement
weather will still be hanging around Friday due to the upper level
trough remaining in place. Another surface low pressure system
enters the Bering Sea over the weekend, so will we be analyzing
that system as it gets closer in time. More to follow in
subsequent forecasts.

The Western Arctic Coast is also being impacted by the storm
moving through the West Coast with snow and windy conditions.
Weather is expected to subside there later today as well. From
Barrow east a tight pressure gradient is still expected to remain
in place into the weekend. It is oriented parallel to the coastline,
making for high wind speeds right along the coast and off shore.
Winds look like they will be the most strong today and tomorrow,
with winds out of the east reaching 45 mph in some locations.
Winds will slacken slightly over the weekend but we can still
expect to see winds 25 mph or so continuing out of the east. These
winds will produce blowing snow and reduced visibility.

Models...continuing to favor a GFS/ECMWF solution. The NAM
continues to to be the odd ball out with overestimating
precipitation on the West Coast. Otherwise, models are in good
agreement until Saturday morning.

Coastal Hazard Potential Days 3 and 4...Southerly gales over the
Eastern Bering Sea this afternoon increasing to near storm force
Thursday. Ice edge far enough south that do not expect issues at
this time, but there is a slight chance for ice push onshore south
facing shores of St Lawrence Island and Little Diomede Thursday
into Friday.


Winter Storm Warning for AKZ201-AKZ207-AKZ208-AKZ209-AKZ213.

Winter Weather Advisory for AKZ202-AKZ203-AKZ204-AKZ211-AKZ214.

Small Craft Advisory for PKZ200-PKZ230-PKZ235-PKZ240-PKZ245.

Gale Warning for PKZ210-PKZ220-PKZ225.

Storm Warning for PKZ210.

Brisk Wind Advisory for PKZ215.


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