Alaska winter highway weather

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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

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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 […]

Southeast Alaska’s Dry Spot

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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 […]

A Dry 4th of July?

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Alaska is a great place to celebrate Independence day, and historically, the weather is decent, more often then not. This histogram shows the percentage of time each station received the listed amount of precipitation on July 4th over their period of weather records, 68 years minimum. Of these 4 metro (“Alaskan metro”) centers it is […]

Summer in Alaska: Generally, and for 2011

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Today is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, and the start of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, at least from the astronomer’s point of view. From the climatologist’s perspective, the start of summer is a little more subjective, but the months of June, July and August are generally accepted as defining summer. […]

Alaska Winter of 2010-2011 Review

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Everybody has an impression of how the winter turned out, but what do the numbers say? Was the long-range prediction for the winter I made in November at all accurate? Well, the impression expressed by most folks here in Haines, in the northern panhandle, is that is was a very cold winter. Looking at the […]

Good Cloud Days

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Some days have boring clouds, or worse yet*, no clouds. Others I call good cloud days, because of the interesting, and often fast-changing, cloudscapes. Here are some of photos of a few of good cloud days I’ve experienced recently. I hope you appreciate the clouds you see, not just for their beauty but for the […]