Your Alaska Link Weather Blog

Janessa Webb

 Here are some photos from last nights Lunar Eclipse!

Have you ever seen something in the sky that looks like this?



This is what is known as Virga.



In meteorological terms its rain that doesn't quite make it to the ground. A little background for some of you "Junior Wood Chuck Meteorologists" as my professor would say, clouds are made up of water, so its only natural for gravity to take over and have it fall from the sky.



Notice the picture above though? It stops falling. Maybe you have seen this before. The cloud is actually producing rain, but the rain doesn't make it to the ground. So how does this happen?





Well even in our cold climate of Alaska there is still evaporation that happens. Whether realize it or not, there is always water in the sky, and on some nights with less than ample humidity (less than 60%) evaporation can happen quite quickly. So with a sun shining on a cloud such as the one above and low humidity, as water approaches the earth it evaporates before it hits the ground.



Think about the opposite! A stove with boiling water, you only see the water escape as a vapor for a few seconds before its gone! Same is true with Virga! Next time you see this snap a photo and send it to me! Ill get it out on air!

Around 3:46PM this afternoon a 8.2 magnitude earthquake shook the Chile and Peru coastline. There was cause for concern here in Alaska as a Tsunami was triggered. However, after further evaluation there is NO threat to Alaska, the Western United States or British Columbia.

 

 

Hawaii however, is still being evalutated by the Tsunami Warning Center.

 

The earthquake triggere about 60 miles northwest of Iquique at a depth of 12.5 miles below the surface. Tsunami sensors were triggered after the earthquake causing evacuations up and down the coast lines of Peru and Chile.

 

Near the city of Iquique a 7 foot tsunami wave was reported and other areas reported waves of roughly 6 feet. There has been no report of injuries and so far damage has included the air traffic control tower at the local airport.

 

 

So far several aftershocks have struck the area with one aftershock of a magnatude 6.2 has been recorded. We will post more information as it becomes available.

People often ask why is it so difficult to predict the weather in Alaska? I also hear "wow, you were wrong" quite often... However, I ask you this... Have you ever tried to predict weather 7 days out?

There is a key word in that sentence... Predict. It's easy to do every single day, throw some numbers out and guess. Some days I get to work and feel like throwing a dart. There is a science though and I thought it time to let you in on our secrets.

Now, no forecast is perfect... EVER. There are several factors why... The first may be obvious, Alaska is huge... Larger than Texas and we have two Oceans, the Arctic Circle and the Panhandle that stretches down nearly to Washington. Surprisingly you would think that there would be copious amounts of data, but there isn't. Because the population is so small here in this remote state, most of the focus weather wise goes to the lower 48. The second biggest factor in predicting the weather in Alaska is the mountains. Because we have what feels like a dozen mountain ranges in the state, many computer models don't account for those so it makes areas like Anchorage very difficult to predict.

 

The final factor, is that these predictions are done by computers. Computers don't have that human instinct. Now that I have lived in the area for almost a year, I have picked up on several trends that happen with the weather and are surprising easy to pick up on. However, it is still never perfect. Below are some resources that I use personally to forecast here in Alaska and you can become a Junior Woodchuck Meteorologist (that's what my professor called us).

 

Meteor I-State for Anchorage

 

Mountain Weather AK

 

NWS Models

 

Alaska WRF Models

 

European Model

 

 

Those are just a few that I use on a daily basis!

 

 

 

 

On Tuesday we had a little fun with our Fox affiliate in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Their temps were nearly 30 degrees cooler than here in Alaska. In fact much of the US was colder than Anchorage. Chicago's high on Tuesday was 5 degrees and a low of -11. Atlanta had a high of 25 and an overnight low of 6! Temps, "Hotlanta" isn't exactly used to. Last our friends in Grand Rapids saw yesterday a high of 9 and a low of -1. We know exactly how they feel.

 

So since we were enjoying our heat wave, they asked for a video of the weather up here in Anchorage, which they played during their 10pm news and then we received this in response. 

Click the video to watch! 

 

Thanks to Kevin Craig Fox 17 Meteorologist for this lovely video!