Southcentral warm weather to dissipate this weekend

A warm weather front in Southcentral Alaska is expected to dissipate Thursday, making way for cooler weather over the weekend.

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National Weather Service meteorologist Jason Ahsenmacher said it will be a gradual shift over the next few days.

“What that means for areas like Seward all the way up through Anchorage is that we’re going to be seeing… we’re going to be cooling back down again on Saturday,” Ahsenmacher said. “It’s not gonna get cold, but it’s gonna be cooling back down towards normal. But we will be seeing increasing snow chances by Saturday.”

Ahsenmacher said strong winds down Turnagain Arm should also taper off.

Last weekend’s heavy snow, followed by warmer temperatures and rain cultivated treacherous avalanche conditions in the mountains.

Heather Thamm, with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center, said a backcountry avalanche warning has been issued for the area, urging skiers, snowboarders and snowmachiners to avoid avalanche terrain.

“We’re expecting a bunch of natural avalanche activity and this activity could be fast moving and run far in a lot of the paths,” Thamm said.

Thamm said the possibility of human-triggered avalanches will remain likely throughout the weekend.

The state Department of Transportation conducted avalanche mitigation today [Thursday] along the Seward Highway from Bird to Portage.

Thamm observed some of the artificially-triggered avalanches.

“We’ve already seen a couple big slides come down to the bike path zone,” Thamm said. “So they are running the full length of their paths right now, at least in this steep, channeled terrain.”

Thamm said avalanche conditions are high throughout much of the Kenai Peninsula, including the Girdwood Valley, Turnagain Pass and the Seward area.

Road conditions are expected to deteriorate Thursday as wet roads begin to freeze up amid cooling temperatures throughout Southcentral.

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