Monday, April 19, 2021

Sun and Snow

Remarkable warmth has continued to build over eastern and southern Alaska, under the influence of a tremendous ridge of high pressure aloft.  Yesterday the southern Panhandle community of Klawock reached 75°F, the earliest on record for such a high temperature anywhere in the state.

Fairbanks saw 64°F yesterday, close to a record for the date, and this was with plenty of snow still on the ground.  Brian Brettschneider spotted that it was actually the warmest on record for such a substantial snow pack; the figure below illustrates this point.  There have been warmer spring days with a lesser snow cover, but none so warm with more than a foot remaining.

Here's the early evening scene on the UAF campus today:

And here is yesterday afternoon's 500mb analysis, courtesy of Environment Canada.  We've seen a lot of this in recent years, and it's amazing how the pattern flipped right back to its multi-year default after the excessive cold of 10 days ago.  Notice too the northerly flow rushing down the other side of the ridge into western Canada and the Lower 48; folks down south are wondering where their spring disappeared to.

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