Is it winter yet? Weather pattern keeps snow at bay

Posted: Sunday, November 03, 2002

Is it really November? That's a question on many Kenai Peninsula residents' minds lately as above-normal temperatures have made the peninsula seem downright balmy.

"It is abnormally warm for this time of year," said National Weather Service Meteorologist Neil Murakami.

According the the National Weather Service, high temperatures for this time of year should be in the mid- to upper 30s, with overnight lows dropping below freezing.

Additionally, a lack of snowfall is somewhat uncommon for this time of year.

The peninsula historically averages around 2 inches of snowfall by the end of October. However, that hasn't been the case, as temperatures have consistently hovered 10 degrees above normal, and nary a flake of snow has fallen on the lowland areas of the peninsula.

The reason for the balmy weather has to do with atmospheric conditions in the north Pacific Ocean. According to Murakami, the jet stream, the high velocity upper-atmosphere air current that shapes our weather, is moving warm air and low pressure from the North Pacific to the Gulf of Alaska. The jet stream then pushes the warm air and storm systems north through the Alaska Peninsula and into the center part of the state.

"It is just a pattern we are in that doesn't seem to be changing," Murakami said.

Until that pattern is broken, temperatures will remain above normal, he said.

However, once it is, Kenai Peninsula residents can expect temperatures to drop and snow to fly.

Winter sports enthusiasts shouldn't get their hopes up just yet, though, as the pattern isn't showing any sign of changing soon.

Meteorologists are calling for high temperatures in the upper 40s, lows above freezing and rainy conditions through next week.

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