Alaska is going to get hammered this week by a major winter storm, which is going to dump several feet of snow in the coastal mountains.
The primary wave of precipitation will arrive on Tuesday evening/night, ramping up before peaking in intensity on Wednesday night. Since this storm is pulling warm, moist air from the tropics, temperatures will increase with the warm front as it surges north. Snow levels will increase throughout Tuesday night and Wednesday before peaking around 1,500 feet on Wednesday afternoon/evening. All of the snow that falls with this storm will be quite wet and heavy due to the warm temperatures and high moisture content of the surrounding air. Precipitation rates will decrease overnight on Wednesday but moderate snowfall will linger into Thursday evening.
In terms of totals, the model agreement remains pretty poor. However, most models are pointing to the highest snowfall totals being located in the Kenai Mountains just to the west of Prince William Sound. A combination of the precipitation bullseye and high elevations (and thus low density snow) will allow the snow to really stack up; I would not be surprised if the upper elevations in this region see 8-10+ feet of snow in just 36 hours… pretty insane! Due to the remoteness, there will likely not be any reports of totals in the region from this incredible snowfall event.
Alyeska will be the winner of the few ski areas in the region. 25-35” is likely at mid-mountain at Alyeska (~2,000 ft) by Thursday. Snow totals will decrease dramatically with elevation. Keep in mind that the base of Alyeska is essentially at sea level, and will likely see quite a bit of mixed precipitation with those high snow levels, especially on Wednesday afternoon. However, Thursday will bring colder temperatures and better chances for base snow.
The mountains that Alaska Backcountry Guides operates near Valdez will also be hammered, with widespread 24+ inch totals preparing their snowpack for a deep season ahead!
Powderchasers has teamed up with Alaska Backcountry Guides (Heli skiing near Valdez) for our 4th season. They are booking up fast and still have some seats left during the week of 3/10 or 3/17. They are offering unlimited vertical during those weeks (Great bonus). Also, if you mention Powderchasers, you will automatically get a free concierge package (Custom forecasting) from Powderchasers. You can click here for more info on AK Backcountry Guides Heli Skiing.
Enjoy the powder everyone!