Ginormous rain storm coming

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The crust skiing and fat bike enjoyed by many Alaskans on the weekend appears doomed

All remnants of the winter that really wasn’t in Alaska’s largest city appear ready to be washed away in a climatic blender.

Kiss it goodbye you who love this time of year when the sun stays in the sky for a long time and the snow that softens in its beams during the day refreezes into white pavement in the cold of night. If you got a taste of the phenomenoal  crust skiing and crust fat biking Sunday morning in the Chugach Front Range above Anchorage, you were lucky.

It might well be the last crust of the year if the National Weather Service is to believed. The federal agency is predicting the freeze line in the Chugach, Kenai and other near coastal Alaska mountains could rise to 5,000 feet by tonight and stay there through the week.

“Even at night across Anchorage and surrounding area through the remainder of the next week, freezing levels may reach as high as 5,000 feet…,” the agency said in a special weather statement that warned of “rapid melting and increased runoff in local streams in addition to the moderate to heavy rainfall expected.

“With this increased runoff and temperatures, there is an increased risk for avalanches or rock slides in areas of steep terrain.”

The Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center, which was already warning of significant cornice dangers facing skiers in the popular Turnagain Pass area, had not updated it’s avalanche forecast on Easter night, but was expected to revise it soon.

The subtropical storm system that is powering the change in weather appeared to have made landfall a little earlier than had been expected by weather forecasts in Alaska’s largest city. They called for rain developing along the Anchorage Hillside with winds there expected to reached  “southeast 25 to 40 mph with gusts to 50 to 60 mph along Turnagain arm and higher elevations” on Monday.

The winds at Glen Alps, the highest subdivision in the Front Range above Anchorage, were already hitting 60 mph — storm gale force — by 8 p.m. Sunday. A NWS mesonet site at Upper DeArmoun Road was reporting gusts to 59 mph, and other sites across the Hillside were reporting similrly high winds driving rain sideways.

Say hello to an early spring in Alaska’s largest city.



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