Winter has gripped Lynn’s Upper Canal for the past two weeks, and Thanksgiving week looks more of the same. Mike Swasey of KHNS spoke with federal meteorologist Wes Adkins of the National Weather Service in Juneau on Monday after a winter storm watch was issued for heavy snowfall later this week.
Swasey – Wes, looks like a big winter storm is brewing. It’s a refrain that I find myself repeating over and over again these days, but another big winter storm is crossing Lynn’s Upper Channel from, I guess, Tuesday, can you tell us more?
Adkins – Yes, so we’re looking for more snow potential for Tuesday late night through Thanksgiving morning. At this time, there is a great deal of uncertainty as to when the heaviest precipitation will return to the Upper Lynn Channel. However, I will say that our confidence for the upper part of the Lynn Canal is higher than it is for the points to the south.
So right now we think it could be as much as a foot of snow, it could be a little more. Our forecast is 6 to 16 inches, but this is midweek that we’re talking about, hopefully fine-tuning that as we get closer to the storm.
Swasey – Okay, is there any way to find out what the differences might be between Haines and Skagway? Because over the weekend there was another winter storm and it looks like they went a few yards in Haines and we only got a few inches here in Skagway. So there is a big difference.
Adkins – It’s well known in our area that Skagway is, I guess you could call it the Southeast Desert. This is the driest spot in the region that we anticipate. I don’t know if we have the differences, but you know you can count on a few inches less for sure.
Swasey – OK, so it’s going to start late Tuesday night. Is it correct? And then cross on Thanksgiving morning?
Adkins – We will use an analogy with football. We have wide goal posts when it comes to time. The snow could delay until Wednesday morning, but right now we have the midnight winter storm, Tuesday night, through Thanksgiving morning. So it looks like Wednesday will be the worst of days.
Swasey – What is the difference between a watch and a warning?
Adkins – A watch is an event that seems probable, probable, but a warning is that it is going to be certain.
Swasey – Okay, so we’re not 100% sure it’s going to happen?
Adkins – We’re not 100%? Of course, exactly.
Swasey – Well, let’s say it impacts Lynn’s upper channel. What will this do for the travel conditions in the region?
Adkins – You know, it will be pretty risky conditions on the highways if people go to Canada. For sea travel, due to the dynamics of the rise of very large precipices in the upper part of the Lynn Canal, you may have very strong southerly winds. We see a lot of cool cool air from the Yukon coming down the Chilkat Valley and it’s producing really strong gusts of wind through Haines for sure. And some northerly winds through Skagway.
Swasey – Yeah, we definitely have a northerly wind blowing on my trash can went for a little walk this morning. What are you going to do? Okay, Wes, thank you so much for helping us figure out how to get around Haines and Skagway properly this week and I appreciate the time.
Adkins – Yeah OK. Take care.