Northern Lynn Canal has a reputation for being colder and snowier than the rest of Southeast. But after a snowy November, residents are trading in ski boots for Xtratufs.
November offered enough snow for winter activities to take off in Northern Southeast. Snowshoes were tested, ski boots were tied, and ice skates were sharpened.
But this week, melting snow and warm winds gave Upper Lynn Canal an unexpected taste of Spring.
“It’s definitely a lot warmer than what we usually see this time of year. We had a lot of record highs set across the northern panhandle yesterday,” said Edward Liske, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Juneau.
He said it is normal for Southeast Alaska to flip-flop between cold conditions and warm, wet weather. But right now, one long-term weather event has the dial stuck on warm.
“The main weather pattern right now is a strong, high ridge of pressure over the Western United States that’s blocking a lot of storms and directing them up towards us. And it’s directing a southerly warm flow into our area.”
Liske said the pressure ridge has been hanging there for about a year.
“The warmer temperatures over that particular area are reinforcing the ridge over that area. They’re also rather dry down there,” he said. “They’ve had a lot of wildfires.”
And while California battles wildfires, Southeast?
“It’s getting dumped on by a whole bunch of rain,” Liske said.
Liske says there’s no way to know when the high-pressure ridge will dissipate. His one-month forecast says December will likely stay warm. For skiiers, sledders, or anyone who likes to stay dry while leaving the house?
“Maybe some hope toward January,” he said, laughing.