Polar low blasts the Pribilof Islands

Polar lows are small, somewhat elusive, and usually quite potent…cool stuff for weather watchers. They are small compared to their more common, mid-latitude big brother lows, up to a few hundred miles across, compared to a thousand or more miles across for the later. They are more like the size of hurricanes. For that reason, […]

Wind Driven Snow Rollers

My tips for witnessing unusual, interesting or simply beautiful weather phenomena have always included spending as much time as possible outdoors and keeping your eyes up, as in looking up at the sky often. A couple days ago I found some unusual weather down at my feet. Snow rollers! My other advice is to always […]

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 […]

A Dry 4th of July?

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 […]