Friday, November 10, 2023

South Coast Snowstorm

Yesterday a number of 747 cargo planes were spotted at Fairbanks airport, and that usually means only one thing: Anchorage is having a big snow event.  And indeed they were: 2-day snowfall amounts ranged from 17" at the airport to 30" on the Anchorage Hillside and over 36" up Turnagain Arm.  Here's a graphic courtesy of NWS Anchorage, showing storm totals as of this morning:

With substantial snow earlier in the week as well as more today, the weekly total is really something: Brian Brettschneider indicates that the airport's 6-day total of over 28" is the third highest on record in the Anchorage climate history.  The only larger snow events in that time frame over the last century or so were in February 1996 and December 1955.  Quite a way to start off the winter!

The snow depth of 21" yesterday afternoon is easily the greatest for this early in the season in Anchorage.

Of course, far more snow fell in topographically favored locations.  Courtesy of NWS Anchorage (and publicized by Brian), here's an astonishing report from the Richardson Highway:

The liquid-equivalent precipitation estimates from the NWS are wild too, with over 10" estimated in the high terrain on Wednesday, and another few inches yesterday.

Here's a satellite loop showing the powerful cyclone and associated "atmospheric river" that brought such prodigious moisture to the south coast.

Yesterday morning's 3am surface analysis shows the 964mb low tracking directly into the Kenai Peninsula and Anchorage area.  Winds gusted as high as 60mph in Yakutat.

And here's a nice loop of the Anchorage-area radar reflectivity, courtesy of Randy Chase on Twitter:

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