By: Mitch Sego
Channel 2 Weather
6:25 AM AKST, February 1, 2012
Blizzard Warnings are in effect today for the Bristol Bay region, the eastern Aleutians and Alaska Peninsula, the eastern and northern portion of the Kenai Peninsula, Thompson Pass near Valdez, Turnagain Arm and the Upper Hillside of Anchorage, and the Kackemak Bay region.
Wind gusts to 70 mph have already been reported at Portage. Gusts of 80-90 mph are likely today and tonight for Portage, down Turnagain Arm, the Upper Hillside of Anchorage, and channeled terrain of PWS, especially near Cordova.
Here is the time line I laid out yesterday for this storm system:
Today-Tonight: The low reaches maximum strength of 948 mb which is a compatible central pressure to many hurricanes. Strong winds spread into the Panhandle and heavy rain increases throughout the day. In Southcentral, a Chinook wind develops in Anchorage late. Blizzard conditions persist in PWS and the eastern Kenai Peninsula. Periods of heavy rain and snow and hurricane force winds through channeled terrain, like Portage and Turnagain Arm, will remain into early Thursday morning. Strong winds and periods of snow on the backside of the low persist in Southwest. The Alaska Peninsula sees blizzard conditions into the afternoon, then colder air, lighter winds, and waning snow showers through the overnight. Highs rocket into the 20s, 30s, and 40s.
Thurs.-Thurs night: Low moves on land, stalls out, and weakens. Blizzard conditions diminish. As the winds decrease, snow, possibly starting out as rain or a rain-snow mix, becomes likely in the Cook Inlet region. Temperatures cool in the 20s through the evening. Rain continues in PWS and the Panhandle. Scattered snow showers hang on in Southwest as temperatures drop. Highs 30s and 40s to the east and teens and 20s to the west.
Friday: Cooler air filters in and rain and snow showers diminish near Cook Inlet toward evening. Warmer air and another storm in the southern Bering brings an increase of temperatures and snow activity to Southwest.
This is a rigorous and potentially dangerous storm that is churning it's way out of the north Pacific toward Kodiak Island. Warm temperatures, heavy snow or rain, and very strong winds will accompany the passage of a strong front as it swings out of the Gulf into southern Alaska.
Temperatures are rapidly increasing in Southcentral. Later this afternoon, coastal regions will push into the upper 30s and 40. Near Cook Inlet, temperatures will continue to warm, aided by strong downsloping Chinook winds, into the 30s tonight. Some areas may push into the 40s in Anchorage.
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