Anchorage, Alaska stats

  

Anchorage, Alaska, set two seemingly opposite records, one for high temperature and one for snowfall, on the same day.

Just the right setup, with a moist and active pattern, allowed a warm temperature record to occur on the same calendar day as heavy snowfall.

Strong southerly flow courtesy of an upper-level high over northwestern Canada brought warmer air and plenty of moisture into southern Alaska late Monday into early Tuesday.

Temperatures briefly rose above 40 degrees in Anchorage early Tuesday as a result of this southerly flow. The high for the day was set during the midnight hour when temperatures rose to 44 degrees. This tied the daily record high for the date.

Above-average temperatures were also observed into northern Alaska. Utqiaġvik (formerly known as Barrow) ended its streak of 25 consecutive days of temperatures below 15 degrees below zero.

However, a cold front then pushed through Anchorage. Temperatures dropped to 32 degrees by 5 a.m. Tuesday, and snow was reported.

Snow continued to fall throughout Tuesday due to this first system and another low that was approaching from the south.

By the end of Tuesday, 8.9 inches of snow was measured in Anchorage, setting a new daily snowfall record. This also tied the record for the seventh-snowiest February day there.

The expected heavy snow prompted the National Weather Service to issue a winter storm warning for the Anchorage area for Tuesday into Wednesday morning.

This winter storm warning was the first for snow in Anchorage since March 25, 2013. On that occasion, just over 13 inches of snow fell March 24 to 25. A winter storm warning was issued for freezing rain or ice in November 2019, which was the first winter storm warning issued in Anchorage since March 2013.

The lack of winter storm warnings for snow may seem unusual for a location that receives an average of 74.5 inches each season, but due to the regular snowfall the area receives, the criteria to reach winter storm warning levels is significant and higher than most locations in the United States.

In the Anchorage area, winter storm warnings are issued when 12 inches of snow is expected in 12 hours, or when up to 24 inches is expected in 24 hours. Snowfall rates that high do not occur often there.