An almost spring-like melt has hit Southcentral Alaska, with above-average temperatures forecast through the middle of the week.
So far in 2014, forecasters have not seen the frequent cold outbreaks that typically filter down from the high Arctic in the winter.
"We're kind of in an unusual pattern in that a lot of our weather is coming from the south, from the subtropics of the Pacific Ocean," said Joshua Maloy, a forecaster with the National Weather Service's Anchorage office.
While moving from south to north, the weather systems bring reinforcing shots of warm air, he said.
Typical mid-January temperatures in the Anchorage area average highs in the 20s and lows in the teens.
"Obviously, it's been a lot warmer than that," Maloy said.
In the next week, the weather service is forecasting temperatures in the upper 30s throughout Southcentral. In some areas, the temperature may climb into the lower 40s, Maloy said.
The weather pattern is also expected to move southwest and push temperatures into the 30s in Bethel and other parts of the lower Kuskokwim Delta.
"Quite a bit" of precipitation is expected to accompany the higher thermometer digits, Maloy said. He added that much of that will be concentrated on the coastal areas, including Seward and Kodiak and up to Cordova and Valdez.
The storm that hit the region on Friday brought rainfall, slushy roads and pooling water, along with avalanche alerts. On Saturday, the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center warned of a "considerable" avalanche danger that still exists above and below the tree line.
"The brunt of yesterday's warm, wet and windy storm has moved through but the snow pack is still adjusting to the shock," the center said on its website.
Travelers were advised to avoid all avalanche terrain, or slopes of 35 degrees or greater.
Reach Devin Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4314.
Alaska weather forecasts
By DEVIN KELLY