A classified “Operation Gift Force” chart warns people in Southeast Alaska about strong winds expected throughout much of the region on Christmas Eve. (National Weather Service Juneau)

A classified “Operation Gift Force” chart warns people in Southeast Alaska about strong winds expected throughout much of the region on Christmas Eve. (National Weather Service Juneau)

Is Juneau going to have a white Christmas? No. (But expect a peak performance for the holiday)

Rain and wind forecast during Santa’s overnight visit, with both increasing in strength on Monday.

Alaska appears to be the best place in the U.S. for those dreaming of a white Christmas, according to a national news story that reports Anchorage could break its Christmas Day 1994 record of 30 inches of snow. But people in Juneau will need some rather high aspirations to see snowflakes, according to the official forecast.

Rain, wind, and temperatures ranging from a high of about 40 to lows in the mid-30s are forecast Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, said Andrew Park, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Juneau, in an interview Sunday morning. He said the snow level as of Sunday morning was about 2,000 feet, meaning Eaglecrest Ski Area is likely to continue adding to its snowpack near the top of the mountain while getting hit with rain at the base.

“I think for tonight we’re going to have a hard time getting snow anywhere,” he said. “There is a chance Yakutat could see some snowflakes, but we’re pretty warm as the system moves across.”

The one small glimmer of hope for snow dreamers in Juneau is temperatures are expected to drop somewhat Monday night so there is a possibility the rain will turn to snow, but “it’s minimal — it just depends on the timing,” Park said.

Park also published a supposedly classified “Operation Gift Force” chart on the local station’s Facebook page letting residents throughout the region know Santa may have rough sledding overnight with high wind gusts topping 50 miles an hour in some locations. But he said winds in Juneau should be less severe, topping out at about 20 to 30 mph in higher and exposed locations such as Eaglecrest.

There should also be something of a break in the inclement weather later Sunday until the early hours of Monday morning, Park.

“Around three to six in the morning, that’s when we’ll start to see widespread light rain at first and then the heavier showers will pick up sometime in the afternoon Monday,” he said.

• Contact Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com or (907) 957-2306.

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