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Fairbanks experiences warm weather due to Chinook winds from Alaska Range

Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 4:58 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Due to warm winds known as the “Pineapple Express” or the “Chinook winds”, Interior Alaska is experiencing above freezing temperatures.

According to Melissa Kreller, a Meteorologist with the National Weather Service, the warm winds have traveled to the Fairbanks area all the way from the Alaska Range.

“Right now we are in a southerly flow through the Alaska Range,” Kreller explained, “and that’s what’s creating our Chinook winds, which are our down-sloping winds. So it gives us nice warm weather across the area, extending from the Alaska Range all the way north. Or when it’s very strong, as far north as Fairbanks.”

Normally, the winds need to be traveling at high speeds to be able to reach as far north as Fairbanks, and these current winds are going at extremely high speeds.

“What happens is, we get some southerly flow through the passes which creates kind of these warm, strong winds through the passes,” Kreller elaborated, “and it goes down the mountains, and warms us up. So basically we get this warmer weather just because of the winds going through the passes, and right now we’re experiencing anywhere from 70 miles per hour to 80 miles per hour. So it’s a stronger Chinook wind, which means our temperatures here in the greater Fairbanks area are warmer.”

However, these winds are already beginning to diminish - and as they do, the temperatures will begins to drop once more according to Kreller, “We are expecting the winds to diminish through the day today (Monday) and through the evening. So, we’re going to see our warmest temperatures in the morning in the greater Fairbanks area, and it will be steady through the afternoon, and then slowly decrease in temperature as our winds start to diminish. The high wind warnings out for the Alaska Range go through 3:00 a.m. for the eastern Alaska Range, and then for the Denali area through 6:00 a.m.”

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