A brisk wind blows leaves near Eagle Beach State Recreation Area on Friday, Oct. 22. The falling leaves are one sign that winter is coming to Southeast Alaska. On Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center released its winter outlook and predicted a second winter with a La Nina climate. (Dana Zigmund/Juneau Empire)

A brisk wind blows leaves near Eagle Beach State Recreation Area on Friday, Oct. 22. The falling leaves are one sign that winter is coming to Southeast Alaska. On Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center released its winter outlook and predicted a second winter with a La Nina climate. (Dana Zigmund/Juneau Empire)

A La Nina winter is coming

La Nina could mean colder-than-normal temps

On Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center released its winter outlook and predicted a second winter with a La Nina climate.

Closer to home, Caleb Cravens, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in the Juneau office, said that the La Nina phenomenon will likely affect Southeast Alaska—but it’s too soon to tell exactly what that means for the months ahead.

Cravens said that colder water temperatures forming around the equator in the Pacific Ocean lead to La Nina conditions.

La Nina forces generally bring cooler winter temperatures to Southeast Alaska, he said.

In addition, La Nina often brings more precipitation to the area. But, Cravens said that the official predictions model shows “equal chances” for precipitation this winter.

[Plane crashes at Juneau International Airport]

A repeat?

Cravens recalled last winter, which also featured a La Nina weather pattern, and said this winter could be similar.

Last winter featured almost record cold temperatures and record amounts of snowfall in parts of the panhandle.

He said that a firmer view of winter will come together in January and that this outlook is preliminary.

In the short term, Cravens said next week looks dry with clearing skies. He noted that combination leads to cooler temperatures overnight.

“Our first snow is on average the first week of November,” he said, adding that sometimes sea-level snow starts to fly in late October.

As of Friday morning, Eaglecrest is reporting 4 feet of snow, Cravens said.

[Public Market returns with mitigation measures in place]

He said that’s “promising” for skiers but cautioned against making too many predictions about the ski season.

Heavy snows that accumulated early last fall melted before the ski season started as storms brought warmer air to the area in late fall.

“We can get these cold spells followed by warm spells,” he said. “It all depends on whether the storms come from the tropics and warm us up or if they come from the Bering Sea.”

Contact reporter Dana Zigmund at dana.zigmund@juneauempire.com or 907-308-4891.

More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of May 22, 2022

Here’s what to expect this week.

Coast Guard aircrews medevaced two people from Dry Bay Airstrip, approximately 30 miles Southeast of Yakutat, Alaska, after their plane crashed, May 25, 2022. (Courtesy photo / Coast Guard District 17)
Three medevaced after plane crash near Yakutat

All four aboard were injured, three critically so.

The author’s appreciation for steelhead has turned into something like reverence considering what’s happening to populations in the Lower 48 and Canada. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)
I Went to the Woods: Silent steel

“You forget most of what ends up in the freezer, but those steelhead, they stick with you.”

Senate President Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, seen here in this June 16, 2021, file photo, announced Wednesday he will not seek relelection in the Alaska State Senate, where he has served since 2013. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file)
Senate president says he won’t run again

“Honor and a privilege.”

Hoonah’s Alaska Youth Stewards helped make improvements to Moby and water the plants in summer 2021. (Courtesy Photo / Jillian Schuyler)
Resilient Peoples & Place: Moby the Mobile Greenhouse cultivates community

It presents opportunities to grow food knowledge and skills.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Thursday, May 26, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Alaska Supreme Court orders use of interim map for elections

The decision came just over a week before the June 1 filing deadline for the August primaries.

A male red-winged blackbird displays his showy red patches and calls to a rival male (Gina Vose photo)
On the Trails: Birds and beetles at Kingfisher Pond

Something is almost always happening at Kingfisher Pond.

Most Read