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Melting warmth in store for Southcentral Alaska this week

  • Author: Tess Williams
  • Updated: November 30, 2020
  • Published November 29, 2020

The Anchorage Bowl is expected to see temperatures above freezing for part of the upcoming week, which will melt some of the existing snow, according to meteorologists.

Warm air is expected to move into the area Tuesday as a low pressure system moves up from the Western and Central Aleutians, said National Weather Service meteorologist Ben Bartos.

There’s a chance for up to a half-inch of snow to fall throughout the Anchorage Bowl Monday night, but Bartos said temperatures Tuesday are expected to rise to close to 40 degrees. Bartos said temperatures during the day will remain well above freezing and are expected to drop to just below or hover around freezing during the night.

“It’ll eat away at the snowpack, for sure,” he said. “The question is how much will remain when this is done.”

Bartos said he expects some snow in the Anchorage Bowl to outlast the warm spell, although what remains will likely be poor quality. With the warm up mid-week, he warned that driving could become difficult as the snow turns to slush.

Higher elevations, including the Turnagain Pass, Thompson Pass and much of the Chugach mountains will likely see a significant amount of heavy, wet snow falling this week, Bartos said.

In the Matanuska and Susitna valleys, Bartos said that temperatures will likely remain freezing and the area will receive additional snowfall through the week. The warm system that is expected to hit Anchorage this week will head north toward Palmer and Wasilla, where the air will cool again.

A winter storm warning begins Monday night for the Susitna Valley, where 1 to 2 feet of snow is expected to fall by Wednesday afternoon. The weather service said localized amounts up to 3 feet are possible in the foothills of the Alaska Range.

The Kenai Peninsula is expected to see rainfall throughout the week, with more than 4 inches expected to hit Seward and Whittier by Monday morning, according to a special weather statement. Seward may see up to 2 inches of snowfall Monday, but as the warm front moves in, the precipitation will shift to rain. The weather service issued a flood advisory from Moose Pass to Seward and warned that elevated water levels could lead to minor flooding in streams or areas with poor drainage.