It’s almost 50 degrees. In Anchorage. In January. What’s going on?



Dylan Watts and Eric Flora, with Alaska Pacific University’s cross-country ski team, test the trails at Anchorage’s Kincaid Park on Tuesday. (Bob Hallinen / ADN)

Right here was the take-house message Tuesday from Joey Caterinichio, whose job it’s to maintain the cross-nation snowboarding nationwide championships this week from actually and figuratively melting down: “Thank God for snowmaking.”

Residents of Anchorage awoke Tuesday to temperatures within the forties, which finally tied the report of forty four on the Nationwide Climate Service workplace in Sand Lake. Birchwood, midway between Anchorage and Wasilla, hit fifty one, exceeding Tuesday’s highs in locations like Atlanta, Chicago and Houston, Texas.

The heat and Anchorage’s lack of pure snow have difficult life for Caterinichio and the tons of of athletes, coaches and volunteers concerned within the championships right here, which can assist decide who represents the U.S. at subsequent month’s Winter Olympics in South Korea.

However all of them appeared to be forging forward undeterred Tuesday, even because the excessive temperatures and a gentle wind helped to soften the hillsides at Kincaid Park, the location of the championships, down to reveal floor.

The parking tons might have doubled as ice skating rinks; the person-made snow on the paths assorted in texture between inches-deep mashed potatoes and almost strong ice. However skiers did their tune-up exercises, coaches examined skis and wax and volunteers plotted out parking prematurely of the primary occasion — a distance race Wednesday.

Athletes can be racing on a 2.5-kilometer loop full of synthetic snow, quite than the 7.5-kilometer course organizers had initially deliberate. However they’ve nonetheless managed to cram in 4 hills per lap, and 1,000 complete ft of climbing for the ladies and 1,450 for the lads.

“The climate will do what the climate does. You possibly can’t management that. You possibly can simply management the way you react to it, stated Brian Gregg, an Olympian from Minnesota and College of Alaska Anchorage graduate who’s racing this week.

Tuesday’s excessive temperatures have been the results of what Nationwide Climate Service meteorologist Michael Kutz described as a “very sustained southerly airflow” — regular winds from the south — stemming from two totally different climate methods.

One, a low over Southwest Alaska, is spinning counterclockwise, Kutz stated. The opposite, a excessive over the Pacific Northwest, is spinning clockwise. Image that in your head and you may see how the 2 mix to primarily pull heat air from the North Pacific Ocean as much as Alaska.

Youth skiers with the Alaska Winter Stars club team train Tuesday at Kincaid Park, as water pools atop ice in the parking lot. (Bob Hallinen / ADN)

The heat is amplified, Kutz stated, because the air pushes over the mountains surrounding Anchorage, then falls again down — what meteorologists discuss with as a…



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