Nick Yankee takes advantage of the remaining snow along Montana Creek Road to ski on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. The National Weather Service is calling for a mixture of rain and snow going into the weekend. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Nick Yankee takes advantage of the remaining snow along Montana Creek Road to ski on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. The National Weather Service is calling for a mixture of rain and snow going into the weekend. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Wet and warm December likely to continue

Just 3 inches of snowfall at airport this month

A white Christmas isn’t looking especially likely.

A short-term climate outlook released Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows a strong probability Southeast will experience warmer and wetter conditions to finish out the year.

That could equate to a December snowfall total far below the average. Through the first two weeks of the month, 2.9 inches of snow has fallen at the Juneau International Airport, less than a fifth of the monthly average of 15.6 inches.

“We are unfortunately are not hitting our normals there, or anywhere close to them at all,” said meteorologist Greg Spann of the National Weather Service in Juneau. “It is important to note that there are some differences depending on where you are located in Juneau with how much snow you’re receiving.”

Spann added snowfall totals are highly variable between downtown and the Mendenhall Valley, and even within different parts of the Mendenhall Valley. Almost 10 inches of snowfall has been recorded this month at the NWS Forecast Office on the Back Loop Road, he said.

“The valley is definitely experiencing and getting a little bit more snow than downtown or the airport, but no matter which way you cut it, we’re still below normal,” Spann said.

There’s a 40-50% probability the panhandle will be wetter than normal and 33-40% probability the state will have warmer than normal over the next 8-14 days, according to the climate outlooks created by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center,

“The winter outlook is probabilistic in nature, meaning that the maps show those areas that are most likely to be warmer or colder than normal, or wetter or drier,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center, in a conference call with reporters upon the release of the 2019-20 U.S. winter climate outlook. “However the nature of a probabilistic forecast means that other outcomes are always possible, just less likely.”

The average temperature last month in Juneau was 38.5 degrees. That’s five degrees warmer than normal, according to the National Weather Service.

Additionally, the total precipitation last month of 10 inches was four inches higher than normal, according to the National Weather Service. The climate normal period is taken from records between 1981-2010.

• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or

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 Sept. 25

Here’s what to expect this week.

People work together to raise the Xa’Kooch story pole, which commemorates the Battle of the Inian Islands. (Shaelene Grace Moler / For the Capital City Weekly)
Resilient Peoples & Place: The Xa’Kooch story pole — one step toward a journey of healing

“This pole is for the Chookaneidi, but here among us, many clans are represented…”

A bracket fungus exudes guttation drops and a small fly appears to sip one of them.( Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)
On the Trails: Water drops on plants

Guttation drops contain not only water but also sugars, proteins, and probably minerals.

A chart shows what critics claim is poor financial performance by the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, especially in subsidizing private industry projects intended to boost the state’s economy, during its 55-year existence. The chart is part of a report released Tuesday criticizing the agency. (MB Barker/LLC Erickson & Associates/EcoSystems LLC)
AIDEA’s fiscal performance fishy, critics say

Report presented by salmon industry advocates asserts state business subsidy agency cost public $10B

Police vehicles gather Wednesday evening near Kaxdigoowu Héen Dei, also known as ]]Brotherhood Bridge Trail, while investigating a homicide. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Police: Woman was walking dogs when she was killed

JPD said officers are working “around the clock” on the criminal investigation.

In this photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, a Coast Guard Cutter Kimball crew-member observes a foreign vessel in the Bering Sea, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022. The U.S. Coast Guard cutter on routine patrol in the Bering Sea came across the guided missile cruiser from the People's Republic of China, officials said Monday, Sept. 26.  (U.S. Coast Guard District 17 via AP)
Patrol spots Chinese, Russian naval ships off Alaska island

This wasn’t the first time Chinese naval ships have sailed near Alaska waters.

An Alaska judge has ruled that a state lawmaker affiliated with the Oath Keepers, Rep. David Eastman, shown in this February 2022 photo, may stay on the general election ballot in November even though he's likely ineligible to hold public office  (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Judge keeps Oath Keepers lawmaker on November ballot

Judge ordered delaying certifying the result of the race until a trial scheduled for December.

Water rushes down Front Street, just a half block from the Bering Sea, in Nome, Alaska, on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022 as the remnants of Typhoon Merbok moved into the region. It was a massive storm system — big enough to cover the mainland U.S. from the Pacific Ocean to Nebraska and from Canada to Texas. It influenced weather systems as far away as California, where a rare late-summer storm dropped rain on the northern part of the state, offering a measure of relief to wildfire crews but also complicating fire suppression efforts because of mud and loosened earth. (AP Photo / Peggy Fagerstrom)
Repair work begins in some Alaska towns slammed by storm

ANCHORAGE — There’s been significant damage to some roads and homes in… Continue reading

Sniffen indicted on sexual abuse counts

Sniffen will be arraigned Monday.

Most Read