White Halloween?

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Ghostly signs of Halloween past/Craig Medred photo

Despite an average, monthly temperature running more than 11 degrees above normal in Alaska’s largest city, National Weather Service forecasters are predicting an Anchorage tradition could continue:

Halloween might be greeted by snow on the ground. Maybe.

For decades in Alaska’s largest city, Halloween has marked the informal start of winter. Either there is the frozen ground of the frigid north by then or there is snow or often both.

Other unusually warm or dry years have hinted they might make it to the end of October without ice in the ground or snow on it, but they never did.

This year? Who knows.

It’s so warm the locals are feeling a little spooked.

The temperature at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport on Thursday evening was 46 degrees. The normal high for the date is 36, the normal low 24.

Normally, three-tenths of an inch of snow would fall on Oct. 25. Instead it was raining.

The days record high of 50 tied a record set in 2002, and the average daily temperature was poised to break the 2011 record of 43.

Record after record

It was the fourth day in the week that Anchorage had met or beaten historic highs.

And yet the forecasters were promising a return to seasonal before the end of the month.

“Snow likely, mainly after 10 p.m.,” the forecast promised for Sunday night with “snow likely, mainly before 4 p.m.” on Monday.

The trend was predicted to continue into the week with a “chance of snow showers” on Halloween turning into “snow showers” by Halloween day.

Whether the snow will stick is a question mark. The temperature isn’t forecast to drop below freezing until Sunday night.

Alaska Department of Transportation highway monitoring sites in the Anchorage area were Thursday recording subsurface ground temperatures of 42 to 44 degrees. It takes time to suck that much heat out of the ground.

Anchorage has never gone this late into October without an official freezing temperature. The previous record for the latest first freeze dated to Oct. 16, 1969. Anchorage has now broken it again and again and again and…

The coldest temperature this month was 36 on the Oct. 22 at the official weather service measuring site. Night time temperatures have only warmed up since then.

Average daily temperatures this week have ranged from 10 to 17 degrees above normal, according to NWS data. 

Anchorage residents admit they’re enjoying the temps even if the conditions seem other worldly.

With the temperature at 55 on Tuesday and the sun warm on the Anchorage Hillside, one resident remarked that it would have been a very nice day for September only to have a neighbor retort, “Hell, this would be a nice day for August.”

The weather has stirred much discussion about climate change and global warning, but climatologists note the huge annual variations in climate, not to mention local differences.

NWS TV desk program leader David Snider said some parts of Anchorage have likely already seen overnight freezes despite the high temperatures at the weather service station near Cook Inlet. Anchorage has a lot of microclimates – some of them notoriously frigid.

“There’s a lotta local around here,” Snider message. “Every corner is different.”

As of yet, however, snow has fallen in none of those places in a place where 5.9 inches of snow usually falls in October.

Winter sports fans in the state, of which there are many, are keeping their fingers crossed. The snow came late in 2011, too, with the first 1.1 inches not accumulating unti Oct. 30. 

After that, the snow just kept coming. November, December, January and February all ranked in the top 10 for snow and after 4.3 inches fell on April 10, Anchorage had a new record for winter 2011/2012: 134.5 inches.

That’s more than 11 feet, enough to bury a pickup in your driveway.

Four years later, significant parts of the state witnessed record low snows. Alaska weather, especially Alaska coastal weather, is hugely variable.








22 replies »

  1. Yeesh – How did we get here from there?
    I kind of like our new October – flowers still growing today – no frost yet although my windshield frosted a few times a few weeks back.

  2. Steve,

    After the Kavanaugh confirmation…

    We can see why so many women decide to not remain silent after an assault occurs.

    There’s never a good reason to remain silent when sexual assault occurs and it has nothing to do with politics.

      • Bill,

        Help me out here on this one, are you suggesting that victims of sexual assault are better off remaining silent? Have you ever had a family member be a victim of sexual assault, I know from first hand experience it’s not better to remain silent.

        All of this on an article about snow, kind of ironic in that snow so often represents purity.

      • Steve-O, I’ve only given you an example of one individual who (most likely) would have remained silent under her circumstances.
        You can spin that however you want to, but the example speaks for itself. The reasoning is not uncommon for women who chose/choose to remain silent and, until that reasoning goes away, I suspect we will still have many victims keeping silent.
        This example was not related to our military victims but (I suspect) the price paid by many military women who came forward would also render their change of heart had they to do it again.
        Your sentiments are for a “perfect world” and just don’t always work in our world IMO.

      • Bill,

        Just add this one to the pile of “things Bill doesn’t get the point of”. You really missed the boat this time…a little hint, a “perfect world” doesn’t involve sexual assault.

      • Bill,

        You seem to be saying that victims of sexual assault are better off remaining silent, I asked for you to clarify your statement and you doubled down on it. Apparently you’ve had the good fortune of not having any loved ones be a victim of sexual assault. If you ever had that experience you would know that to remain silent is the worst thing you could ever do because, amongst many other reasons, it gives power to the assault over the assaulted.

        You think that makes me full of shit, so be it Bill, so be it.

    • Snow? Impossible I say. Right Steve? The Global Warming sky is supposed to fall any day now!!! Pack-up your sleds kids and pick-up your sun screen. A common weather occurance EL NINO brings very slightly warmer temps and now we are all going to die of skin cancer.

  3. Nahh! The real issue is why is Hillary not in jail. Lock her up! Benghazi!
    Your bathroom still breeding Bolsheviks, Mongo?

    • Bill,
      Good point,
      I am reading a book by Melvin Goodman who worked for the CIA for 24 years, but resigned when he could “no longer tolerate the corruption he witnessed at the highest levels of the agency”.
      He writes: “If I had used personal email during my tenure at CIA, as Hillary Clinton did as secretary of state, I would currently be out on bail…or worse”.

      • Bill,
        If you would have asked my grandfather in the 80’s or 90’s if society would ever see a “whistleblower” from the CIA come forward with Intel, he would probably doubt it….but today we are seeing multiple men and women who have long been considered “conservatives” with long government service careers stepping out of line.
        John Kiriakon is another one of those guys who still feels the U.S. is under “fallout” from nearly 20 years of the “war on terror” and clandestine drone attacks…
        If CIA officals like Brennan, Kirkiakon, Goodman and former spies like Ed Snowden are now concerned, then why no response from our Congress?
        “Whistleblower John Kiriakou explains why he and fellow-whistlebower Thomas Drake are committed to alerting their fellow Americans to a dangerous surveillance and war system designed to monitor their every activity…Emphasizing that the United States has been in war for seventeen consecutive years, Kiriakou states that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton never saw ‘‘a war that they did not want to jump into with both feet’’. He is not alone in believing that drones create more terrorists than they kill. ‘‘When I was in Pakistan, I captured and interrogated many dozens of Al Qaeda fighters. Most of them told me that they never had a problem with the US until we bombed their village and killed their parents with a drone’’, Kiriakou reveals. According to him, in the last month of Obama’s term ‘‘424 people were killed with the use of a drone’’. 

      • Steve, didnt that anti-American scumbag Brennen vote for the only COMMUNIST in 1976 to run for President?? That ought to tell you enough about that treasonous piece of $&%@

      • “Former CIA Director John Brennan delivered a sharp rebuke to President Donald Trump to clean up his act and “try to act presidential” after Trump lashed out again at media outlets on Thursday”…
        “Stop blaming others. Look in the mirror. Your inflammatory rhetoric, insults, lies, & encouragement of physical violence are disgraceful. Clean up your act…. try to act Presidential. The American people deserve much better. BTW, your critics will not be intimidated into silence,” he wrote on Twitter”.

    • Bill, tell it to their families. Better yet, make Hillary do it:
      Christopher Stevens
      Sean Smith
      Glen Doherty
      Tyrone S. Woods

  4. Not this chit again! How about looking into the potential pedophile that was our Lt Gov that the so called “Real” and “Not Fake” News outlets Won’t Cover?

    • The Alaska court system gave white guy Schneider a free pass for sexually abusing a Native woman. So Mallot would get two free passes because he is also Native. So no sense in looking into it. Nothing would happen to Mallot because he has his pockets filled with free passes. That’s how it works in Alaska (and other third world countries).

      • James,
        After the Kavanaugh confirmation…
        We can see why so many women decide to remain silent after an assault occurs…
        I just wish Walker at least told us what really happened??
        So much for his Transparency.
        I can still remember Parnell standing up and announcing “Choose Respect” while meanwhile the National Guard sexual assualt scandal was trying to be kept under the rug.

      • Steve,

        After the Kavanaugh confirmation…

        We can see why so many women decide to not remain silent after an assault occurs.

        There’s never a good reason to remain silent when sexual assault occurs and it has nothing to do with politics.

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