North Pacific lows create warm, wet December

A series of low pressure systems from the North Pacific have been hovering over Southeast Alaska this month, causing higher temperatures and rain.

“It’s the track of these low pressure systems that have been moving in,” says National Weather Service forecaster Pete Boyd in Juneau. “As we get some ridging over the panhandle, we’ve got these southerly winds, which has just been moving up this warm air. And with this current system, it’s pretty much raining across the entire Southeast Alaska panhandle.”

In 18 of the first 21 days of December, the high temperature in Juneau was above the average high for that date. Only twice did the low temperature dip below normal. The weather service reports Juneau’s average temperature this month has been 34.3 degrees. That’s almost 4 degrees above normal.

Boyd says the same conditions have created above average temperatures in SouthCentral and the Interior this month.

“The same pattern’s been affecting Southeast Alaska and the Interior as well,” he says.

And while he’s not ready to declare a white Christmas, Boyd says temperatures should drop this weekend.

“We have some indication that it could be a rather cold air mass,” Boyd says. “But these models, we don’t have exactly very high confidence in them right now. But we do see temperatures dropping below freezing, looking to probably be just in the mid to upper 20s.”

Strong winds are expected to continue through Friday. Sustained southeast winds 15 to 25 miles per hour, with gusts to 40 miles per hour Thursday evening. The same Friday morning, until winds decrease to 10 to 20 miles per hour in the afternoon.

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