Nome and the region hit with back-to-back snow storms

Three weeks in a row, residents of Nome and the Southern Seward Peninsula Coast received winter storm warnings from the National Weather Service.
With back-to-back blizzards in the first and second weeks of April and a third taking place this week, business as usual was interrupted by the stormy spring. School was delayed or cancelling, flights were canceled, businesses closed early and people just hunkered down to wait out the weather.  
Rick Thoman, Alaska Climate Specialist at the International Arctic Research Center at UAF, told the Nugget seven out of the last eight springs have been unusually stormy. This spring alone, since March, there have been eight significant storm days.
The storms of the Bering Strait region feed on temperature differences between air masses. Cold air sitting over Northeast Asia and warm air over the Bering Sea “fuels the intensity of these storms,” Thoman said. The low-pressure systems rotating counterclockwise snap from southeast winds to west or northwest winds bringing cold air from Northeast Asia, which is why following the first two storms the temperature cooled down significantly.
Last week on April 10, the storm began with temperatures warming up to 32°F and peak winds reported at 45 mph at the Nome Airport. In the region wind highs were reported at 60 mph in Wales, 52 mph in Teller, 48 mph in Golovin and 45 mph in Savoonga and Unalakleet.
The storm this week began Monday afternoon with blowing snow and wind gusts up to 41 mph. Unlike the previous storms, this one won’t finish off with a cold snap, Thoman said, it’s actually expected to get warmer into the weekend. This is because of a high pressure aloft building over the Yukon that will spread to the Bering Strait region, suppressing any storms until next week at least. Though whether the region is done with its weekly serving of storms is unknown.
As of press time Tuesday night, another storm is set to begin and last through Wednesday, according to another National Weather Service Warning.
The result of the storms is a stalling in the town’s ability to operate. Nome Public Schools closed Wednesday April 3 and Wednesday April 10, delaying school start on April 11. All Bering Air flights were canceled April 3, 10 and 11 and Alaska Air flights were also canceled. City of Nome’s offices and Kawerak were closed last Wednesday.
On April 10, two men attempted to travel to Shishmaref from Teller by snowmachine. They got lost in the storm, separated and later found alive and uninjured by Brevig Search and Rescue, according to Alaska Troopers report.

The Nome Nugget

PO Box 610
Nome, Alaska 99762

Phone: (907) 443-5235
Fax: (907) 443-5112

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