Why Fairbanks cold snaps aren’t what they used to be

It’s been a cold winter across most of Alaska. It’s not the first and it won’t be the last. During every winter there are relatively colder and warmer periods. This year these cold snaps and warm spells seem to be aligned pretty well to the calendar months: November was cold, December warm, and January…one of […]

The highly channeled winds of coastal Alaska

Alaska is a big place, and the weather system affecting our state right now is even bigger, but I’m going to show you that is it the small scale that counts when it comes to winds of the south and southeast coasts. As I write this, virtually the whole state is under the influence of […]

Alaska winter highway weather

Driving in winter in Alaska can be interesting, to put it mildly. Driving around town is included in this statement but is certainly not like hitting the open highway, crossing vast, unpopulated areas and ascending and descending mountain passes while dealing with any combination of snow, ice, fog, white-out*, wind, extreme cold, long darkness or […]

The 500 mb pattern and the northern lights

The 500 mb (millibar) weather map has traditionally been the bread and butter of weather forecasters. Today, with so many new, high tech tools at their fingertips, is this map still relevant? You bet! The 500 mb level of the atmosphere is simply the height at which the air pressure is 500 mb (or 50 […]

Warm Days, Chilly Nights Go Hand in Hand in Late Summer

Fairbankskans and others in the Alaskan Interior have been enjoying plenty of sun and warm afternoons for the past week. The NWS office there even put out a statement about it, as if to rub it in to the rest of us who have been layering on the sweaters, if not rain coats, lately. PUBLIC […]

Southeast Alaska’s Dry Spot

No, the rain gauges are not malfunctioning, (although that has happened before at some weather stations). It has been very dry in the north end of the Inside Passage. There is a natural dry pocket in this rainforest to the point of really stretching the term rainforest. This year the first part of summer has […]