There are two main factors affecting the course and the race: Reduced visibility and raised water levels.
Charles Aldrich of the Fairbanks Weather Forecasting Office said the area is looking at an additional 6-10 inches of additional snowfall, on top of the previous storm and winds of 30-45 MPH.
“That’s going to cause snow drifts on top of that, which will be a few more obstacles for them,” Aldrich said.
Wes Aldrich of the Nome Weather Service office said Nome has seen raised water levels. “We’ve actually been battered pretty good with winds… yesterday on to today,” he said.
The wind has been pushing water levels higher than normal for this time of the year, and at weak spots in the ice, such as river mouths, it will flood or move the ice.
“So it’s a little dicey for snowmachiners, because a lot of times they’ll cross at these river crossings,” Aldrich said.
He also pointed out that with snow, wind and a low cloud cover, visibility will be affected not only by falling snow, but on flat, white light, which makes it difficult to detect changes in terrain.
The Weather Service’s storm warning is in effect until 6 a.m. Friday, when it’s expected to taper off. “The clouds are going to kindof thin out, it’s going to be partly cloudy,” Aldrich said, with winds down to 10-15 MPH.
The storm is moving towards the East, Aldrich said. “It’ll probably move faster than they will.”
He said Fairbanks will start to see the effects of the storm Thursday night into Friday. The race is scheduled to end Saturday afternoon.