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Most of Alaska should see normal winter breakup this year

first_imgA more normal winter across much of Alaska bodes for more normal river breakup conditions this spring. National Weather Service Alaska region climate science and services manager Rick Thoman said after three years of generally below normal snow and ice, and above normal temperatures, Alaska was more on track with historic averages this winter.Listen now”And with the forecast of increased chances for cool weather the rest of this month over the eastern Interior and the Yukon, and somewhat above normal over Western Alaska, there’s the potential protracted snow-melt and breakup.”Thoman said the forecast for a warmer spring in western Alaska, and somewhat cooler conditions to the east, also would ease breakup along the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers.”Melting and weakening the ice faster than normal in the West, and it’s a slower process in the East. So you reduce the risk that there’ll be this big flush of water coming down the rivers and then running into solid ice.”Thoman cautioned that the outlook is based on modeling, and that there’s always potential for a sudden big warm up, like the one that resulted in a major ice jam flood at Eagle in 2009.”That is a possibility. There’s no sign of any big warm-up like that on the horizon, but the end of April is a ways away yet.”Breakup timing is forecast to be normal in Northern Alaska, one to three days early across the state’s mid-section and two to four days early in southern areas.last_img read more