As much of the United States kicks off this weekend with heavy rain, extreme heat and even tornadoes, one region will experience the first winter storm warning of the season.
Early Friday morning, the National Weather Service in Fairbanks, Alaska issued a winter storm warning for the Brooks Range and part of Alaska’s North Slope. This is the first winter storm warning to be issued anywhere in the United States this snow season, which officially began July 1.
Significant snow is expected over the higher terrain of the Brooks Range, primarily above 2000 feet. Some areas above 4,000 feet could receive close to a foot of snow through Sunday morning.
“Winds will increase this evening and Saturday, causing high, choppy waves along the northern Alaskan coast. Wind gusts to 50 mph are possible,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Tom Kines.
Atigun Pass, Alaska, in the Brooks Range. (A POINT)
The last U.S. winter storm warning was issued on June 15 for an area of northern Montana that included the northern Rocky Mountain front and western glacier region. The last winter storm warning issued by the Fairbanks NWS was on March 11 and was for Denali and parts of the eastern Alaska Range.
This area of Alaska still experiences nearly constant daylight at this time of year, but the amount of daylight continues to decrease as winter approaches. Anaktuvuk Pass, Alaska, one of the towns under winter storm warning this weekend, just saw its first glimpse of twilight for the first time in nearly two months on July 18.
As of August 5, Anaktuvuk Pass experiences 19 hours of daylight and 5 hours of civil twilight. Civil twilight is the time when the sun is about six degrees below the horizon, but on a clear day there is still enough light for ordinary outdoor occupations, according to Merriam-Webster.
While Alaska is experiencing a taste of winter, the low-48 will have to wait a little longer for snow. In fact, August 5 is one of the few dates when no climate station in the lower 48 has ever measured snow in their recorded history, not to mention mountain peaks.
But relief is in sight – August is the last month of meteorological summer, with meteorological autumn officially beginning on Thursday, September 1. AccuWeather’s fall forecast for the United States predicts that one region may experience early frost, and others should experience significant snowfall early.
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