Your Alaska Link Weather Blog
Waves crash into the Statue of Liberty. Water rushes as a 20 foot wall down Times Square, New York. People run into New York Public Library and rush to the second floor just as the wall of water slams into the building.
Scene from the movie
New York then is under 20ft of water and it begins to snow... The super storm moves into the area dropping temps well below freezing. People huddle in the library and start burning books to keep warm. They eye moves right over Manhattan and because of the intense low pressure super cooled air from the high atmosphere rushes into New York freezing everything nearly instantly.
Visible Satellite of Super Typhoon Haiyan
No this didn't happen, this is the scene from the move "The Day After Tomorrow" shown in 2004. While, it is VERY VERY unlikely that this will ever happen, today the STRONGEST Storm ever recorded made landfall in the Philippines at a strength off the Saffir Simpson Scale (used to rate Hurricanes). With sustained winds of 195 mph and gusts over 235 mph it is the strongest Typhoon to ever be recorded and its name is Super Typhoon Haiyan.
The Saffir Simpson scale for hurricanes is based on sustained wind speeds. A category 1 has winds of 74-95. Category 2 from 96-110, cat 3 from 111-130. Then a category 4 (Strength of Hurricane Katrina) has winds of 131-155 and finally a Category 5 hurricane has winds over 156mph which include Hurricane Andrew back in 1992.
Infared Satellite taken early Friday Morning (local time)
The only other Hurricane to even ever record winds over 190mph was Hurricane Camille back in 1969 with winds of 190mph.
This Typhoon will go down in history books as one of the strongest ever recorded.
Its an obvious question. When will Anchorage see its first measurable snowfall? No surprise we haven't seen any yet. It has been an extremely warm fall, in fact so warm it was the warmest October on record! Can we set any snow records? It will be interesting to see when it actually first snows.
Records have been kept for nearly a hundred years now so we have a pretty good idea. Now every date that I reference here will have been with 0.10 inches of snow or more. Its hard to measure anything less than that.
Photo Courtesy of the National Weather Service
For starters, the earliest date that we have seen 0.10" or more was September 20th, 1947 and the latest date for 0.10" of snow or more was November 13th, 2002. It's a wide gap with the average first snowfall coming in the middle of October. Now with October ending and November starting tomorrow more records could be made as we flirt with freezing temps the next several days.
Below is the list of when snow first fell in Anchorage that was 0.10" or more from the last 20 years.
1993- Oct 17th
1994- Oct 8th
1995- Oct 14th
1996- Sept 21st
1997- Oct 14th
1998- Oct 17th
1999- Oct 13th
2000- Oct 12th
2001- Oct 11th
2002- Nov 13th - (Latest recorded first snowfall date)
2003- Nov 10th
2004- Sept 25th
2005- Oct 28th
2006- Oct 26th
2007- Oct 23rd
2008- Oct 6th
2009- Nov 8th
2010- Nov 2nd
2011- Oct 30th
2012- Sept 29th
We will continue to watch for that elusive first snow!
It has been a busy couple of weeks here at the office, so my apologizes for not updating this sooner!
Now we enter almost week 4 of the Accuweather.com 45 day forecast challenge to see how well they can predict 45 days out. Let me put it like this... NOT GOOD. Recapping week one they were colder by about 4-10 degrees everyday and its only getting worse for weeks two and three! So here we go!
When I forecast so many variables go into how I predict and what I am looking for. Here in Anchorage we are blessed by the Chugach Mountains which keep us dry when the winds come out of the Southeast. At the same time are temps are influenced by our proximity to the water and the last detail is how much sunlight we get. As we head toward winter we don't get enough sunlight to really heat the ground as you would like in most places in the lower 48. With that said, this fall has been WAY above normal.
WEEK 2 Accuweather Forecast- So for week two starting October 18th, Accuweather started with SNOW, a high of 38 and low of 30. Similar for the 19th with a 34 and 26 and snow for the day. Then temps start to drop... 29 H - 19 L on the 21st. Then a 28 and 18 with more snow for the 22nd. A 28 and 19 for the 19th and a 29 and 20 to end week 2 on October 24th.
So now that we know what Accuweather predicted we can see exactly what happened... Almost the exact opposite. Starting again the 18th, Anchorage was in the low 50's! With overnight lows in the mid 40's nearly 15 degrees warmer than what Accuweather predicted. Then the 21st through the 24th to end week two the only day even close to what they predicted was the 24th where it was a high of 36 and low of 26. Accu had predicted 29 and 20... Still they have no clue what is happening.
WEEK 3 Accuweather Forecast- Starting October 25th I will rundown quickly what Accuweather predicted then compare to actually what happened and its NOT pretty. Accuweather's week of high temps starting the 25th of October went 29, 27 ,26, 31, 30, 27 and finally 24 ending on Halloween..... When in reality it was 48, 40, 45, 51, 50, 44 and today was 43. In some cases they were almost 25 degrees off. I wont even compare the lows because it wasn't even close...
Now how can we trust Accuweather when they couldn't predict a five days out let alone 45 days. To me its insane. I would put more trust in Brick from Anchorman than anything..
Week one is in the bag for Accuweather's 45 day forecast challenge to see how they have done and lets get to the result....
Day one October 10th Accuweather predicted a high of 44 and overnight low of 39 with a rain chance. So far they didn't fair too bad, high was spot on at 44 however, the overnight low was 34. So far so good and even had the rain chance correct.
Day two October 11th. Accuweather prediction high of 47 with a low of 40 with a chance of a shower, when in reality the high was 46 with a low of 37 with rain throughout the day. So still not a bad forecast.
Big changes happened October 12th. Accuweather had said a high of 48 and low of 40 with steady rain, unfortunately though it was 52 and 41 with NO rain. Now things are starting to fall apart.
The 13th was no better predicting 49 and 40 when in reality it was 53 and 40 at the airport. Temps throughout were way off however they did predict the rain.
Starts to get worse on the 14th... The high was 53 and a low of 44 under cloudy skies. Accuweather however predicted 48 and 41 with sunny skies. Not exactly accurate...
The 15th becomes even worse high of 54 and 47 were recorded at the airport with 0.01 inches of rain and accuweather had predicted a "steady rain" with a high of 48 and low 37.
Getting even worse on the 16th with a predicted high of 57 and low of 46 with a trace and mostly cloudy. Accuweather was way off with "rain" which wasn't exactly true and they had also said the high would be 46 and a low of 32... Over 10 degrees off.
Finally, the 17th of October, end of week one... The actual highs and lows were 53 and 43 with mostly cloudy skies and 0.06 inches of rain when Accuweather had said 40 and low of 32 with clouds giving way to sun. NOT TRUE!
Next week is only going to get worse as their forecast calls for snow tomorrow... Accuweather that is, not here in Anchorage we are still a ways away from seeing any significant snowfall. Hang tough Anchorage!
When I say think of a 4 letter word what do you think of? Some would say, "love" or maybe something else that can't be repeated on here. Either way there is a four letter word that is stirring quite a buzz in the Anchorage community, especially with our evening anchor, Stevie French. That four letter word is SNOW.
Its one of the most commonly asked questions that I get, when will we see snow?
I have talked before about how unpredictable Anchorage's weather is, or even Alaska's for that matter. Forecasts are really only accurate here about 5 days out. Now I should clarify. I am talking temperature wise they are valid 5 days out. We can see rain coming days away, that is why I do a 7 day forecast, because you see exactly a week and get a general sense of what is going to happen. We look at patterns, the jet stream and temperatures in other locations at certain times to determine what is coming and when.
Now you're probably wondering why we haven't seen snow yet, other than that one day back in September when it was just a tease. Well, the answer is the southerly flow we have had. Low pressure systems rotate counter-clockwise in the northern hemisphere, so these systems grab warmer air from southerly locations that are generally warmer, such as the tropics, old typhoons out near Asia and Hawaii. This is one reason we have consistently seen temps in the upper 40's to low 50's for the last two weeks or so. So when will it change?
As of right now, I don't see it changing in the next 7 days. However, there is one place that is now predicting 45 days worth of weather. So if you want to know what will happen on Halloween, or Thanksgiving you can see. Accuweather.com claims they can predict 45 days out, including high and low temperature, probability of precipitation and cloud cover. So its time to put them to the test. I took screen shots of the next two months and we will go week by week recording temp/precipitation and cloud cover to determine whether or not they are at all accurate.
The Washington Post also did a study to see if they were accurate.. Spoiler! - they weren't
They claim the first snow will happen on October 19th so mark your calenders! Below is the month of November! I wish them luck!
Tonight on Your Alaska Link