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Area Forecast Discussion (AFD)

Issued by Fairbanks, AK (AFG)

FXAK69 PAFG 161357

Northern Alaska Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Fairbanks AK
557 AM AKDT Tue Oct 16 2018


Unsettled weather will continue across most of 
northern Alaska over the next few days. Above-average 
temperatures, and a wide variety of wintery precipitation will be
the main headline for the central and easter Interior. Farther 
north, heavy snow is expected in the Brooks Range and along the 
eastern Arctic Coast. Rain showers will continue along much of the
Bering Coast and lower Yukon Valley, with snow expected for 
higher elevations of the western Interior.

Aloft 500 mb... 
A 520 dam low situated over Bristol Bay continues
to direct a series of shortwaves north through the Gulf of Alaska
and into the Interior. These waves will continue to propagate 
north and westward, engulfing much of the state well into the 
Arctic by late Tuesday. A sharp ridge axis emanating from a 584 
dam high off the Washington Coast extends northward through 
western Canada into the Brooks Range. The placement of this 
feature is helping to accelerate southerly winds across the state,
causing the strong Chinook pattern currently in place. The ridge 
axis will track slowly eastward over the next few days, loosening 
the pressure gradient and shifting mid level flow southwesterly. 
The closed low over Bristol Bay will gradually merge with a deep 
longwave trough extending south through the Chukchi Sea while 
remaining mainly stationary. By early next week, the general 
consensus seems to indicate a broad trough beginning to open up 
across the state into western Canada. Models show some semblance 
of agreement of this long term trend, but significant differences 
in placement of individual systems make this a very broad 
conjecture at best. 

North Slope and Brooks Range...
A front moving north across the Interior will reach the Brooks
Range this morning. Snow amounts of around 5 to 8 inches are 
expected across the central and eastern Brooks Range through 
Wednesday, with localized totals up to 12 inches across south 
facing slopes. Snow will begin to spread to the North Slope this 
afternoon, with the highest totals of up to 6 inches occurring 
east of Prudhoe Bay through Wednesday. Stationary high pressure 
approximately 500 nm north of Demarcation Point will force the 
pressure gradient to tighten as the front advances north, resulting
in east winds on the order of 30 to 40 mph with gusts to 50 mph. 
The strongest winds will be felt along the eastern Arctic Coast 
this evening through early Wednesday. Blowing snow is likely to 
become a concern as peak winds coincide with heavy snowfall, 
reducing visibility to one half mile or less. The core of 
strongest winds will push offshore throughout the week as the 
front lifts north. 

West Coast and Western Interior...
A front associated with a low over Bristol Bay will sweep
northwest through the afternoon to reach the Chukchi Coast early
Wednesday. A showery pattern is expected for much of the coast 
and lower Yukon and Koyukuk Valleys. Some freezing rain is
possible this morning in areas of the western interior east of
Kaltag and north of Mcgrath, where temperatures will flirt with
freezing. Snow showers can be expected across higher elevations 
of the Seward Peninsula to the southwestern Brooks Range,
particularly along south facing slopes. A tight pressure gradient
will exist from the Chukchi Sea, through the Bering Strait, and
across the central Bering Sea. Strong Northeast winds are expected
to persist through Thursday as the synoptic pattern remains
relatively unchanged.

Central and Eastern Interior...
A strong front containing ample moisture and warm air will 
continue to sweep north throughout the day, reaching the Brooks
Range by late this morning. Much of the lower Tanana Valley from 
Delta Junction west will see a mainly rain event, thanks to very 
warm surface temperatures brought on by the strong Chinook across
the Alaska Range. The upper Tanana Valley from Dot Lake east will
see sub freezing temperatures as the Chinook remains weak in this
area. Any precipitation which does fall will likely be in the 
form of freezing rain or sleet due to the presence of very warm 
temperatures aloft. Farther north, a wintery mix of snow sleet, 
and freezing rain is likely for areas north of Fox to Chena Hot 
Springs, and the Yukon Flats. Additionally, strong gap flow 
across the Alaska Range and through Isabel and Windy Passes will 
peak early this morning, and remain strong well into the evening.
Winds may top 70 mph this morning through Isabel Pass as 
generally stronger winds are expected across this portion of the 
ALaska Range. Southerly flow will continue behind the front as it
tracks northward, though a gradually weakening Chinook should 
keep the region fairly dry through the end of the week. 

Good initializations at 16/00Z and no major deviations noted 
against the 16/12Z analysis. Models hold solid agreement through
Thursday, with reasonable synoptic agreement into the weekend. 
Individual shortwave features become hard to follow but a general
trend towards a deep, wide troughing pattern encompassing much of
the state seems reasonable into early next week as the canadian
ridge erodes and moves east. Perhaps the arrival of Winter?

Coastal Hazard Potential Days 3 and 4...None.


Wind Advisory for AKZ223-AKZ225.

High Wind Warning for AKZ226.

Winter Storm Warning for AKZ206-AKZ218-AKZ219.

Winter Weather Advisory for AKZ202-AKZ203-AKZ204-AKZ216-AKZ217-

Small Craft Advisory for PKZ200-PKZ215.

Gale Warning for PKZ210-PKZ220-PKZ225-PKZ230-PKZ235-PKZ240-

Heavy Freezing Spray Warning for PKZ240-PKZ245.