KETCHIKAN (KDN) — The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Ketchikan and other southern Southeast Alaska communities from 3 p.m. Saturday to 6 p.m. Sunday in anticipation of heavy snowfall and gusting winds.
The warning, issued at 1:53 p.m. on Friday, predicts three to 13 inches of snow accumulation in Ketchikan, Metlakatla, Wrangell, Petersburg, Hollis, Coffman Cove, Thorne Bay, Kake and Kasaan, with the greatest amounts expected north of Coffman Cove. Winds are expected to gust up to 45 mph.
"Travel could be very difficult to impossible," the warning states. "If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency."
The warning further advises: "Winds could down trees and cause power outages. Heavy, wet snow will be difficult to manage. ... In areas of deep snow pack, additional snow and a changeover to rain could challenge load bearing ability of roof-tops, boats, and aircraft. There is a chance of snow mixing with freezing rain at times."
Temperatures at the Ketchikan International Airport weather station are expected to rise over the weekend, beginning at 20 degrees on Saturday morning and warming into the low 40s by Sunday afternoon, according to the NWS's two-day forecast for the area.
"As snow transitions to rain or even heavy rain Sunday into Monday, conditions will worsen, become very slippery, and promote significant ponding," an NWS special weather statement warns. "Rain in higher terrain and higher freezing levels could also lead to a risk of nuisance flooding into next week. Finally, we are also concerned that an abrupt rise in temperatures and freezing levels could mean an increased risk of avalanches near steep terrain."
Additional weather updates for Southeast Alaska, including Ketchikan, can be found at the website for NWS's Juneau forecast office at weather.gov/ajk.