While Lower 48 states are experiencing unusually cold weather this winter because of the polar vortex, Alaska is experiencing unseasonably warm weather with temperatures in the 40s and 50s.
On Jan. 23, the northern areas of Denali National Park and Reserve were closed by Superintendent Don Striker, who in a press release stated, “Due to the unseasonably warm temperatures and rain, there is no longer adequate snow cover for the use of snowmobiles and traditional outdoor activities.”
Riders are reminded that all lands within the former Mount McKinley National Park on both the north and the south sides of the crest of the Alaska Range are closed to all snowmobile use by federal regulation.
There are areas of thin ice or open water on rivers and hazardous avalanche conditions may exist due to the varying layers within the snowpack. Riders should utilize travel routes that minimize avalanche risk, avoiding narrow valleys, ravines and other terrain traps.
Steve Remme, CEO of Hilltop Ski Area in Anchorage, said there have been some days of inclement weather that have hindered attendance, but during the really cold periods his team stockpiled on manmade snow, so Hilltop Ski Area is operating normally.
Remme said, “Even though we are operating normally, people will not likely want to come and ski if it’s windy or rainy outside.”
Winter sports aren’t the only thing affected by the warmer weather. Treeline Construction lost an excavator/pile-driver truck due to thin ice in the Mirror Lake area. No one was injured in the accident, but the truck was pretty well submerged.
According to the seven-day forecast, it looks like the weather won’t be getting any colder this week.
Detailed seven-day forecast for the Anchorage area (forecast courtesy of the National Weather Service):
Today: Partly sunny. Highs in the lower to mid 40s…except in the lower 50s at higher elevations. North to east wind 10 to 15 mph. Along turnagain arm and higher elevations…east wind 35 to 50 mph.
Tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows in the 30s…except near 40 at higher elevations. Northeast wind 10 to 15 mph. Along turnagain arm and higher elevations…east wind 25 to 35 mph.
Monday: Partly sunny. Isolated rain showers in the afternoon. Highs in the 40s. Northeast wind 10 to 15 mph. Along turnagain arm and higher elevations…east wind 20 to 35 mph. Gusts to 45 mph in the afternoon.
Monday night: Mostly cloudy in the evening then becoming partly cloudy. Isolated rain and snow showers. Lows in the upper 20s to mid 30s. North to east wind 10 to 15 mph. Along turnagain arm and higher elevations…east wind 25 to 35 mph. Gusts to 45 mph in the evening.
Tuesday: Partly sunny. Isolated rain showers…mixed with snow in the morning. Highs in the mid 30s to lower 40s. Light winds except east 15 to 30 mph along turnagain arm and higher elevations.
Tuesday night: Partly cloudy with isolated snow showers. Lows in the 20s.
Wednesday – Thursday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the 30s. Lows in the 20s.
Thursday night – Saturday: Mostly clear. Lows in the 20s. Highs in the 30s .