Clear skies provide perfect viewing for peak of Leonids meteor shower

Ridge of high pressure across Alaska will lead to clear skies for many
The Leonid meteor shower is expected to peak Thursday night.
The Leonid meteor shower is expected to peak Thursday night.
Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 8:44 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A rather stout area of high pressure that has parked itself over Canada and Alaska is leading to a stagnant weather pattern across much of the state.

The ridge, which has been responsible for our sunny afternoons, is also one for the record books. Alaskan Climatologist Brian Brettschneider said that the strength of the ridge is the strongest it has ever been in November for parts of the state.

While the ridge is set to back off to the south and east in the coming days, we’ll still enjoy at least two more days of sunshine for the eastern half of the state. This could prove beneficial for night sky watchers, as the Leonid meteor shower peaks tonight. The shower, which runs from Nov. 3 to Dec. 2, provides a dazzling display of meteors of up to 15 per hour.

The only wrench thrown in the viewing opportunity through the night will be the waning crescent of the moon. The Leonids are also known to produce a meteor storm about every 33 years, where up to 1,000-plus meteors can be seen shooting across the night sky. While it won’t be bitterly cold through the night, parts of the Interior could battle subzero readings.

While much of the state remains under the influence of the ridge, Western Alaska continues to see a stormy pattern. Thanks to the orientation and placement of the ridge, the upper level winds are steering all of the active weather through the Bering Sea and north. This is leading to much of Western Alaska remaining on the warmer side, compared to the rest of the state. It’s also been windy, as winds have been gusting upwards of 60 mph through the night. High surf and high winds will continue through the day, although the greatest impacts have already passed. Expected dwindling winds and improving conditions into the night.

While winds are poised to die down into Thursday, snow and freezing rain could impact parts of Koyukuk, Yukon Valley and Upper Noatak through Friday evening. Temperatures for much of the state will remain on the warmer side through the first part of next week, before colder weather slowly seeps into Alaska.

Have a wonderful Thursday!