A winter storm warning was issued for Tuesday and Wednesday on the Lynn Upper Canal. Mike Swasey of KHNS spoke with federal meteorologist Grant Smith of the National Weather Service in Juneau on Monday for details of the upcoming storm.
Swasey – Grant, we have a big storm coming up in Lynn’s Upper Channel, can you give us the details?
Smith – Yes, we have a low pressure storm in the center heading towards the gulf and it looks like as it moves through the gulf there will be a lot of humidity. We have already had cold temperatures for the Yakutat and northern Lynn Canal areas. Thus, due to the cold temperatures and humidity on the path, a winter storm watch has been issued for the Haines and Skagway areas. These will go into effect Tuesday morning and expire Wednesday for more than four to nine inches of snow for the Yakutat area and six to 10 inches of snow for the Haines area. It’s sort of a first glance forecast of what we think for snowfall totals.
Swasey – You know, it’s pretty interesting, there was snow forecast for Friday at Skagway, and Haines had snow and the White Pass and Fraser BC had snow on the Klondike Highway, at Skagway we didn’t. have had nothing. We just got a little rain.
Smith – Yeah, that’s what we had here in Juneau, same story. We thought, you know, more than two to five inches of snow and I woke up and it was raining all over.
Swasey – Yeah, so Skagway was surrounded by snow, is that the same going on Tuesday?
Smith – Well at this point we don’t think so, we have a different scenario. You know, the last time the air temperatures were marginal, right where you need to see snow. But if it warmed up by a degree or two, it all turned to rain, which happened. This time around, our temperatures in the atmosphere are much, much colder before this next event.
You know, last time around, they were about five to six degrees below zero, which is, you know, marginal, you know, now we’re looking at minus 10 minus 12 degrees at a certain layer in the atmosphere, that’s ‘calls the 850 millibar layer. The atmosphere is therefore much colder before this next event. And last time around, I was nervous for the snow because I’m like, you know, the 850 temperature layer is about minus four to minus six, it’s barely cold enough. But, you know, like I said, this time we’re a lot colder this time around, so we’re a little more comfortable.
Swasey – And then after the snow from Tuesday to Wednesday it looks like the temperatures are going to drop, what happens during the weekend?
Smith – Yes Yes. So once that first round of snow arrives, as we go into the middle of the week, Wednesday, Thursday, the warm-up may be done, so we’ll go back to the rain. And then the bottom rolls up, brings in even colder air, imagine that even colder air. And so as we move into the weekend, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, we have for the northern Lynn Canal areas single digit numbers and teens for overnight lows and highs, pretending be in teens and 20s. So very, very cool over there this weekend.
Swasey – Time to get the clamps out of storage, huh?
Smith – Yes, now is the right time to do it.
Swasey – Because it’s going to snow and it’s going to melt and it’s going to freeze and then we’ve got ice and I’m wondering if that could maybe last all winter here in Skagway. Who knows for sure? To agree. Thank you very much for sharing the weather with us.
Smith – Hey, no problem anytime.
The storm watch became a storm warning on Monday afternoon. For current updates, visit weather.gov.