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Area Forecast Discussion (AFD)

Issued by Fairbanks, AK (AFG)

FXAK69 PAFG 152335

Northern Alaska Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Fairbanks AK
235 PM AKST Thu Feb 15 2018

The main forecast focus will be the winter weather hazards along
parts of the West Coast over the next 24 to 48 hours. Snowfall in
the Interior has tapered off across most of the area with some
lingering snow over the Fortymile Country and Upper Tanana Valley.
The weather pattern for the Interior will remain relatively quiet
through the weekend, followed by a more progressive, active
pattern next week. Unlike the Interior, an active pattern will 
persist over the West Coast through the forecast period. The
models are in good agreement through Monday. From Tuesday onward 
there are differences between the ECMWF and GFS, mainly 
differences in position and strength of the individual features in
the active pattern. 

Aloft...At H500, elongated shortwave over eastern Alaska will
continue to track east and into western Canada by Friday. Upper
level ridge stretching from the northern Pacific over western
Alaska will shift east and remain over eastern Alaska through late
Sunday. Meanwhile, a strong shortwave over the central Bering Sea
will move west towards the West Coast this evening and then over 
the Western Interior tomorrow and then fizzle out as it encounters
the upper level ridge over Eastern Alaska. A second, but stronger
shortwave will swing east over the Bering Sea late Saturday, then
over the West Coast Sunday, then east over the Interior while 
weakening late Sunday into Monday. Details differ after Monday as 
an active pattern sets up with multiple shortwaves pushing the 
upper level ridge south.

Eastern and Central Interior...Snow has tapered off across the
area with some lingering light snow along the Alaska-Canada
border. Should see this lingering snow taper off tonight with
maybe a half inch or so of new snowfall. Skies are expected to
clear tonight as the upper level ridge shift east with some fog
developing in some valley locations by morning. Next best shot at
any snowfall will be late Sunday night into Monday when a
shortwave moves east and brings a brief period of light snow.
After Monday evening as the active pattern develops, EC and GFS
differ in regards to the timing and strength of individual
shortwaves and the amount of precipitation. Nonetheless, it looks
like next week will bring a few rounds of snow to the area.
Temperatures will be cooler through the weekend, then will warm up
again next week.

West Coast and Western Interior...Active pattern will persist
through next week. Strong southeast winds gusting 40 to 50 mph over
the Bering Sea and Norton Sound will continue into the evening
before turning south and weakening some. There have been some
reports of low visibility as low as 1/4 to 1/2 mile where there
are existing winter weather advisories for zones 211 and 213. As 
the low in the Bering Sea moves north into eastern Russia, 
southeast winds will increase along the northern Seward Peninsula 
Coast and Kotzebue Sound this evening into tonight. Still 
expecting to for low visibilities due to blowing and drifting 
snow, so made no changes to the the winter weather advisories for 
zones 207 and 209. A front associated with the low will push east 
over the southwest and Norton Sound coast and bring a few inches 
of snow tonight and then will dissipate as it moves into the 
Interior. An area of moisture associated with a shortwave moving 
northeast over the Bering Sea Friday, then over the Bering Strait 
into the Chukchi Sea Friday night will bring another round of 
snow. Snowfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches are possible over this 
area. From Saturday onward into next week, several upper level 
shortwaves and associated surface features will move over the West
Coast and Western Interior, making for an active, snowy pattern. 

North Slope and Brooks Range...Snow has tapered off from the
Dalton Highway west, but lingers to the east where a winter storm
warning is still in effect for the Eastern Brooks Range. May see 
a few additional inches through the evening. A brief period of
snow with an inch or two of snowfall possible from Barrow west 
Saturday as an upper level shortwave moves over the area.
Temperatures will remain above normal with a warming trend
expected into Monday. 

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


Winter Storm Warning for AKZ206.

Winter Weather Advisory for AKZ207-AKZ209-AKZ211-AKZ213.

Gale Warning for PKZ210.

Brisk Wind Advisory for PKZ200-PKZ215-PKZ220-PKZ225.