Fall only officially began on Wednesday, but winter is already making itself known in Interior Alaska. Fairbanks is forecast to receive snow this morning, and a low pressure system from the Gulf of Alaska moving north brought several inches of snow to the Interior earlier this week.
According to the National Weather Service, a weather system is scheduled to move into the Central and Eastern Interior late Thursday night until tonight. National Weather Service meteorologist Luke Culver said that the system is moving up from Southcentral Alaska and will bring inches of snow and winds, which could cause difficult travel conditions at times.
The system, which Culver referred to as “a pretty typical storm,” will spread moisture from the ocean throughout the Interior. Culver said that the Alaska Range will get the most snow — 6 to 8 inches — and then the precipitation will taper off to the north and west.
Fairbanks, along with most areas of the Interior, is expected to receive 2 to 3 inches. The system is projected to move in between 1-4 a.m. Friday morning, with the heaviest snow to happen a few hours later. According to Culver, Fairbanks will get “a pretty good hit of snow” Friday morning — up to 1 to 2 inches — and cautioned that this could make the morning commute to work difficult. While the snow may stick around for Friday, Culver thought it would probably melt before the weekend.
This is the second snowfall event in Interior Alaska this week. The Southeastern Interior received heavy snow from Monday morning through Wednesday morning, which was caused by moisture from a low pressure system moving up from the Gulf of Alaska meeting cold Arctic air, climatologist Rick Thoman said. The forecast was for as much as 10 inches of snow at higher elevations in the Eastern Alaska Range
Culver said the storm was pretty much in line with NWS predictions.
“We forecast that storm pretty well,” he said. “There really weren’t any surprises.”
The hardest hit areas were southeast of Delta Junction, which was as expected. Tok had the most snow, with a recorded 8.8 inches as of 6 p.m. Tuesday. Eagle set an early-season record for highest snow depth and highest two-day snowfall. A National Weather Service observer reported 7 inches of snow in Eagle Wednesday morning, with a two-day snowfall of 7.5 inches.
According to the National Weather Service, this is the highest snow depth and highest two-day snowfall on record for this early in the season. However, the amount was far from breaking the all-time September record, which was 13.5 inches from late September of 1920.
Eielson Air Force Base recorded 1.5 inches from 4 a.m. Monday through 10 a.m. Wednesday. At Denali National Park Headquarters, 1.7 inches of snow were recorded.