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Cold winter predicted as late summer gives way to fall
Published: 09/23/2010 18:50:00
Tom Ainsworth of the National Weather Service gives us the scoop on the fall weather for Southeast Alaska
VIDEO: Tom Ainsworth of the National Weather Service gives us the scoop on the fall weather for Southeast Alaska (Image: Mikko Wilson / KATH-TV)


Aurora Borealis dance below the Big Dipper as seen from North Douglas on September 13th, 2010
Aurora Borealis dance below the Big Dipper as seen from North Douglas on September 13th, 2010 (Mikko Wilson)

A snowplow clears snow from Gastineau Avenue in November 2009
A snowplow clears snow from Gastineau Avenue in November 2009 (Mikko Wilson / KATH-TV)

Related:
El Nino cause of warm winter.

The past 12 days have been unseasonably sunny in Juneau, breaking a record of 10 continuous days without rain for September, including some great clear fall evenings with great views of the harvest moon and even some Aurora Borealis last week.

We asked Tom Ainsworth of the National Weather Service what caused this welcome extension to summer: "Most of the month of September has been characterized by what we call a blocking weather pattern, and that's as weather patterns move around the planet, every now and then they sort of pause; and those pauses can be upwards of two weeks. And that's pretty much what we experienced here in the north west part of North America. We were fortunate to be in the nice part when the weather started stopping and slowing down; other parts of the United States of course had much wetter and stormier weather. But for the last 2 weeks, we've been pretty much in a blocking weather pattern which steers all the storms away from Southeast Alaska in this case."

But all good things must come to an end...

"Well, there's no question today that the blocking weather pattern that we had is fizzled out and has gone away, and now we're gonna get in a more routine weather pattern for late September and early October; which is a real strong west jet stream over the Pacific steering plenty of storm activity our way for the next 5 or 6 days." Ainsworth said.

The average rainfall for Juneau in September is 8 inches; and with up to a foot of rain forecast over the next week for the parts of the panhandle, the month could still be as wet as normal.

Things are expected to cool off during October as we head towards winter.

Ainsworth made his prediction: "The outlook for Southeast Alaska for the upcoming winter looks colder than average, and typically that means more snowfall events than rain events for Southeast Alaska. So I would say we're looking at a cooler than average winter; probably a few more snow events than we are accustomed to. And so maybe a little bit above average snowfall by the end of the winter."

http://pajk.arh.noaa.gov/

By: Mikko Wilson - mikko@kath.tv