Cold Alaskan Temps & Dead Weather Ahead

Have you heard about the cold temps in Alaska? Check out Fairbanks daily info right here. Looks like about 11 days they haven’t even made it UP to -20! That’s really cold (understatement). I made a graphic for that since there is almost nothing to talk about down here in our corner of the “Lower 48”.

That would also be an understatement. Models are still very insistent on just a few weak systems moving through our area Sunday through Wednesday, then strong ridging or split flow developing beyond that point possibly towards the 2nd week of February.

Here are a few charts…

First, the 00z GFS 500mb height anomaly 14 days from now (Hour 312):

Then the 00z GEM (Canadian) anomaly for the same day:

Very similar for being so far away.  So is there hope for non-boring weather in the GFS ensembles…unfortunately not.  Here is the 00z 850mb temp chart:

So enjoy the nice weather on Saturday, then relax indoors Sunday since it appears we have a wet day on tap.

On a side note, check out the effect of weather on the number of hits we get on the weather blog:

Monday-Sunday (Jan9-15):  169,000 hits
Monday-Sunday (Jan 16-22): 178,000 hits
Monday-Sunday (Jan 23-29):  35,000 hits (estimate for next two days)

I notice it’s a gradual pick up in numbers in the 10 days leading up to the wet snow weekend (14-15th). Then a much faster dropoff as soon as we were done with the snow, apparently weather geeks don’t find the flooding nearly as interesting; I would agree.  One more thing…the numbers this week are significantly lower than BEFORE the maps started building up to the colder weather.  I’m guessing everyone gets exhausted by the continous monitoring of data and maps before an event and then once the excitement passes (with maps showing nothing on the horizon) we all scatter and go back to our non-weather lives.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

75 Responses to Cold Alaskan Temps & Dead Weather Ahead

  1. I just returned from a short hike up Angel’s Rest. It was very pleasant out with only a light wind.

    On the way back I stopped at Crown Point and experienced the lightest winds up there in all my years. It was from calm to maybe 5 mph. So strange to be up there and be able to talk/walk like normal.

  2. bgb41 says:

    1/29/2012 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:66 at CW2710 Maupin(1040 ft)
    Low: 48 at OCNSID Oceanside(22 ft)

    High:29 at WOLF CREEK(5700 ft)
    Low: 10 at Sand Creek (US 9 (4525 ft ) & Mazama (4590 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 37 degrees
    CABIN LAKE (56/19 ) (4560 ft )
    Sand Creek (US 9 (47/10) (4525 ft)

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    2.39″ at LOG CREEK(2800ft)
    2.31″ at DW0237 Lees Camp(699ft)
    2.27″ at HEBOWX Mt. Hebo(3160ft)

  3. Dead weather ahead. Too bad it ain’t the Grateful Dead.

  4. W7ENK says:

    Quite blustery tonight…

  5. EY (Oak Grove 200') says:

    So… On the WV Sat… Is that low deepening as it approach us or what? It’s been really windy JUST above my house here and I wanna know if there’s gonna be a sneaker system? Not expecting it to really amount to anything, but at least I find it interesting and I’m personally too dumb to tell if it’s a possibility at this point.

    Side note: Forecast gusts of up to 29mph for Newport tonight… They just recorded a gust of 38mph and have already clocked gusts in excess of 40mph.

    • Probably not…the pressure is pretty high still, 29.91″ and while winds are gusty, they won’t be damaging.

      I wouldn’t use the point forecast for any area (ie the 29 mph forecast gust for Newport).

      I would use the ZFP (Zone Forecast Product)

      On that note I think the front has passed as the winds are now SW vs. SE and the pressure is rising.

  6. PDX Weather Nut says:

    I sure do miss the traditional cold weather and strong gorge winds. The last real winter storm we had in town in PDX was in December of 2008. The last couple of winters have had an unusual lack of strong storms hitting the coast and gorge winds hitting PDX.

    • vinnybob says:

      PDX has had some good east wind, but it seems like when there are east winds it’s not very cold.

    • PDX Weather Nut says:

      Briefly yes but not the strong consistent east winds which are the marks of a traditional winter storm here.

  7. Andrew (Portland....Sylvan Highlands ~800 feet) says:

    Global Cooling on the way!

    “Forget global warming – it’s Cycle 25 we need to worry about (and if NASA scientists are right the Thames will be freezing over again)
    Met Office releases new figures which show no warming in 15 years”–Cycle-25-need-worry-NASA-scientists-right-Thames-freezing-again.html

  8. Runrain says:

    Life of a flight attendant: 75 deg and a poolside lunch in Palm Springs yesterday, 50 deg below zero in Fairbanks today. A 125 deg swing in less than 24 hours! Fortunately, Hawaii is next!

  9. wwm says:

    Boy sure hope the people who have sprinkler systems up there have winterized them. -20 for so long would really do some damage if they forgot. Would also be interesting trying to fight fires, seems like the water would freeze before even hitting the flames.

    on the amount of hits… maybe we could start a “long range blog hit forecast” or “blog hit ensembles”

    Eh, can you tell the weather is boring? nice but boring.

  10. vinnybob says:

    The temp. on the upper tower at 5 am is 50. Heat wave.

  11. pappoose in scappoose says:


  12. bgb41 says:

    1/28/2012 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:71 at RED MOUND(1753 ft)
    Low: 50 at RED MOUND(1753 ft)

    High:26 at HARL BUTTE(6071 ft)
    Low: -5 at CRANE PRAIRIE (5500 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 52 degrees
    CRAZYMAN FLAT (51/-1 ) (6100 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    0.39″ at CW6568 Charlesto(38ft)

  13. We were skiing at Hoodoo (central Or cascades) today. Great weather on some OK snow, about 55 in of hard pack. So I was just looking at the graph from their weather station of last year. They only had about 40 inches at this time a year ago during that long warm, dry spell. Then about the 17th of Feb the snow began to fall and fall. Are we in for a repeat??

  14. Runrain says:

    That 55 posted for next Friday is looking SWEET!

  15. Dead weather ahead? Yes, until mid month. GFS trends hint at amplification offshore and PV descending into BC, not mega ridge axis over PNW. 2/12/2012 has a ring to it.

  16. Kyle says:

    Ha ha ha! All you fools are finally waking up that our weather is out of whack and in reverse order. :p

  17. Ben Randall says:

    OK so here is my input .

    We have had not that bad of winter In my Opinion . We have had at least 1 good snowfall at least at my house and the valley got snow as well . We have had a flooding threat and it seems that we get a couple weeks of dead weather then all of a sudden we get slammed like around mid month (15th -20th) . Let’s see if this holds for Feb.

    I would not say this Winter has been a bust .

    • W7ENK says:

      I’m sorry Ben, but that did not qualify as “1 good snowfall” for the Portland area. It happened in the middle of the night, lasted less than 4 hours, was universally >2 inches, and had completely melted from the road surfaces before the morning commute. If anything, it was more of a heavy Trace, and certainly doesn’t qualify as a bona-fide snow event – not for PDX Metro, anyway. 15 miles North, totally different story… we missed it by that much!

    • Marc (East Vancouver) says:

      Good to see you back, Ben! Hope to hear more of your input as we head into spring

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Too bad the entire area didn’t get the snow amounts we got out here in the land of gravelly plains. Hard for me to complain about the Winter, with a dump of 11 inches.

      Would like a Siberian Express visit, though. Haven’t walked across my pond for awhile. Probably a stretch to hope for that now. Must have a major repair still underway in the Great White North.

    • 0 outbreaks of arctic air and no significant windstorms in PDX metro qualifies as a bad Winter IMO.

    • W7ENK says:

      I have to agree with Mike here. As compared to last winter — which was largely a bust — this winter has been far worse.

      I can only hope next winter brings the goods…

      *looks around, startled and confused*

      Jeezuz, is there an echo in here?? I swear I heard that multiple times the last two winters!

      • Ben Randall says:

        Though here on the coast it’s been a decent winter .. I have got a decent snow fall and plenty of windstorms … though Would love to get more ….We really scored with that “Onshore” flow pattern we had a couple weeks ago ……I actually had a couple of inches of snow to mornings in a row ….

    • Ben Randall says:

      I guess the big thing with Weather is everyone wants different things . So what is a bust for one person may not be for another . @ Erik LOL I think we say that every year .

    • o.c.paul says:

      89′ was a good winter. 93′ was a good winter. 2003′ was a good winter. 2008 was a GOOD winter. 2011/2012- not so much.

    • vinnybob says:

      What makes this year a bust is because everything pointed to a cold snowy winter. PDX hasn’t had a very cold snowy stretch since Dec. 2008. The chances for a prolonged cold period are very slim considering that the models don’t show much in the extended.

    • W7ENK says:

      Exactly, vinnybob. Pretty much three dead winters in a row now…

      December 29, 2009 – too short lived, and the only thing that makes it stand out is the fact that it happened just in time for the evening commute, which created a perfect nightmare. Had it happened in the middle of the night, it would have gone largely unnoticed. Realistically, that was a mere 6 hours of snow before changing to rain. True, there was an epic cold snap earlier in the month, but it was completely for nigh, so therefore irrelevant.

      November 23, 2010, and February 24, 2011 – Much hype, total busts. No snow. NEXT!

      January 18, 2012 – to quote myself from earlier: It happened in the middle of the night, lasted less than 4 hours, was universally >2 inches, and had completely melted from the road surfaces before the morning commute. If anything, it was more of a heavy Trace, and certainly doesn’t qualify as a bona-fide snow event.

      At least I can site two dates from last winter, which (everyone already agrees) sucked!

      And I still think that our weather has been completely eff’d up since December 2008. That event changed something, or set something into motion that we have not yet recovered from. It’s almost like everything has been shifted back by about 6 weeks.

    • Erik, you’re starting to sound like Kyle 😉 A conspiracy theory of the meteorological type. Some kind of weird wavelength has affected our weather pattern ever since 2008..
      Except you need to go back further. I would like to say that ever since they started testing the A bomb in the Pacific, global weather patterns have changed and global warming has accelerated! (OK just kidding……I think.)

  18. ashley watson says:

    what the heck is wrong with our weather. the models show a massive summerlike ridge over us. What happened to la nina? I don’t think any of us will want another la nina winter after the last 2 cruddy ones we have had. we are stuck in a pattern of below normal spring and summers and above normal fall and winter. can we like please reverse that now starting with is spring and summer. Mark Nelson we want to know what your thought are on our crazy weather. what is causing all this out of wack weather. please, we need some professional insight. many people like Joe Bastardi and others give there opinion. I think you are smarter than they are or atleast you use your God given intelect. Please if you could let us know what you think.

  19. W7ENK says:

    It wouldn’t bother me one little bit if a small piece of that broke loose and headed this way…

  20. Dave in SW PDX (235') says:

    FWIW, this morning’s 12z GFS operational shows the PNW flirting with a cold airmass beginning Feb. 12th. Could easily disappear with the next model run, but it’s encouraging to see it show up in the long range again.

    Currently 32.9° after an overnight low of 28.0°. The sun is starting to break through the stratus here – I’m looking forward to a sunny & dry Saturday.

  21. These sort of “dead weather ahead” posts always seem to represent a “buy signal”, as it appears the last weather bull has sold (mark). Henceforth, it only gets better from here — amplification is no doubt coming, and the evolution of that pattern could bear fruit (frozen that is) towards the middle of February. Meanwhile enjoy the tranquil wx.

  22. Still plenty of cold in Alaska with a few areas reporting sub -60 degree temps.

  23. pappoose in scappoose says:

    I think you called it, Mark. Weather Geeks scattered all over, getting stuff done that’s been put off.

  24. Yesterday it was below freezing until 2 PM, then the sun broke through and the temp spiked up to 41. By 6 PM it was back below freezing.

    This morning it looks like snow, it’s 30.5 degrees and cloudy.

  25. bgb41 says:

    1/27/2012 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:60 at FLYNN PRAIRIE(1543 ft) & RED MOUND(1753 ft)
    Low: 43 at BROOKINGS(79 ft)

    High:17 at ALAKES Haines(7979 ft)
    Low: -5 at CRAZYMAN FLAT (6100 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 44 degrees
    CRAZYMAN FLAT (39/-5 ) (6100 ft )

  26. stormblown says:

    Bingo! You nailed that blog post Mark

  27. robwaltemate says:

    Ah, it is just the calm before the storm… LOL

    Besides, this nice break give me time to cut some firewood on the beach!

    • robwaltemate says:

      Holly Cow! What would -48 F feel like. I don’t know if I would even go outside. The pump would freeze for sure, even with a heater in the pump house. That is just too cold for me to even think about.

    • Jethro (Molalla ~320') says:

      I experienced -45C with a light breeze one night in Grande Prairie, Alberta — back in the late 90’s. You layer up, cover extremities, and don’t waste any extra time outside — and they don’t shut their diesel trucks down. They close schools up there at -40, or if they get a major ice storm, but not for much of anything else. -40 on a calm day with sunshine isn’t really as bad as you would think — as long as you keep everything pretty well covered up.

    • Garron Beaverton says:

      My freezer at work regulates to between -20 to -25, and I just plain have to bear it sometimes with minimal extra layers on when restocking, or inventory, I can take it for maybe 1/2 an hour w/o the fans running, and things beginning to warm up due to the door being open. I tried standing in that freezer with the doors closed, fans running, with only my normal work teeshirt and jeans on, I made it about 15 minutes before my contacts started sticking to my eye lids and an ice cream like headache starting to set in. You’d need a spacesuit to handle conditions like -40 + unless your a penguin.

  28. pmbalmforth says:

    I still have hope, Mark!!!! 3 weeks left for any sticking snow before the sun gets too powerful?

  29. Karl Bonner says:

    Now we get to start speculating on the extent of inversions during the early February ridge. If only this ridge had hit about 10 days later, I’d be a lot more confident in it leading to a nice false spring.

  30. Pass. Let’s get on to the Columbus day storm II, the 1949-50 winter II, or double the record snowfall for Mt. Hood…..

  31. bgb41 says:

    Where is the link to the daily info for Fairbanks?

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