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Alaska weekend weather round-up: Snow, but warming

Alaska Dispatch
Denali National Park photo

Much of state has patiently been waiting for snow, yet last week the temperatures in Alaska continued to dip lower and lower. Fairbanks experienced a bone chilling cold snap that sent them into the 40-below range for the first time this winter, while the Mat-Su Valley suffered the irksome nip of the Arctic wind as gusts blew up to 40 mph through the Valley.

Meanwhile in Anchorage, snow may have come early this year, but it hasn't come back, leaving winter enthusiasts waiting and muttering under their breath -- which is clearly visible -- for a big dump of the fluffy. So, Anchorage, here's a little good news/bad news for yah:

Good news: Southcentral Alaska will be getting snow!

Bad news: Snowfall is riding the wings of a storm that has brought winter weather warnings to a huge portion of Alaska's southern half, from Southcentral to the Aleutians.

The storm has generated an official National Weather Service (NWS) blizzard watch, effective from Saturday morning until Sunday evening for Turnagain Arm to Girdwood, Whitter and the surrounding area, although it is not expected to impact Anchroage much.

Here's what you can expect weather-wise for major Alaska populations this weekend:

Turnagain Arm-Portage

  • Should expect 8 to 14 inches of snow this weekend with reduced visibility and an east wind possibly gusting up to 45 mph. NWS estimates reduced visibility to a quarter-mile or less and adds that "snowfall combined with strong winds and blowing snow may produce white-out conditions at times. Driving may become very difficult."

Anchorage

  • Saturday night and Sunday should bring snow to the Anchorage bowl a long with a little wind and temperatures varying from 15 to just over 30 above.

Mat-Su

  • The Mat-Su Valley will be under a NWS special weather statement which has been issued due to "a major shift in the weather pattern expected to begin this weekend." The shift should break the "clear and cold" pattern the area has been experiencing, but nothing too dramatic is in store. The Valley, like Anchorage, should prepare for some snow and warmer temperatures, in the teens.

Juneau

  • Juneau has been issued a special weather statement for the weekend as well. According to NWS, a "strong front bringing snow and wind followed by rain" is in store for the Capital City. Snow will fall beginning Saturday night and continuing through early Sunday, when the precipitation will turn to rain. Rain is likely to continue into next week.

Fairbanks

  • Alaska's Interior city is expected to be cold and clear Saturday with highs in the 20 to 30 below range. Sunday evening will bring clouds and a chance of snow during the day. Highs should pop up from the negatives breaking the cold snap. NWS estimates highs between 5 below and 5 above. Heat wave! But the good news has a catch: NWS has issued a weekend air quality alert for the general area.

For more check your local forecast online at NWS.