Freezing rain, wind gusts up to 45 mph or stronger, melting snow, blowing snow, falling snow, winter storm warnings and the likelihood for an overnight refreeze could cause problems for Yukon-bound Iditarod leaders.

Unseasonably warm weather along the trail between Takotna and Shageluk gave mushers and canines an unexpected wade through several miles of open water. This section of the trail isn't regularly maintained and is some of the most remote country along the 1,000 miles from Willow to Nome.

As race leaders near Anvik, population 79, they'll be driving into a storm the National Weather Service forecasts to settle over the region Thursday night. Up to 4 inches of snow and freezing rain were possible.

Photos courtesy Hideo Sato