Predicting Alaska's Weather


by Ryan Overton

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!





Add a comment


Comment: 1000 Characters Left

Coastal Television | AK News, Weather and Sports | and its affiliated companies are not responsible for the content of comments posted or for anything arising out of use of the above comments or other interaction among the users. We reserve the right to screen, refuse to post, remove or edit user-generated content at any time and for any or no reason in our absolute and sole discretion without prior notice, although we have no duty to do so or to monitor any Public Forum.