Helping share the love of the northern lights!

Alaska Cloud Outlook: Feb 21-27, 2022

Solar wind speeds are projected to remain elevated over the next week, in the 400-500 km/s range. Density, on the other hand, is projected to diminish. Current projections are off by about 5-8 p/cm3, so take it with a grain of salt at the moment. Just keep an eye on the density. Elevated wind speeds can mean a chance of seeing aurora, but lower densities mean the amount and vibrance of any activity may be low. See the image below.

Source: NOAA/SWPC

The weather pattern for Alaska looks to be quite unsettled over the next week, unfortunately. A storm system over the Bering Sea will continue to push to the east over the next couple of days and exit the state on Wednesday (Feb 23). As it does, an area of high pressure (fair weather/clearing skies) will settle in for a short period. It looks like much of the state will see a chance for clearing in the skies from west to east starting early Tuesday (Feb 22).

Anchorage should see some sunshine/breaks in the clouds late in the evening Tuesday and into Wednesday. Wednesday actually looks like a pleasant day for Anchorage with some mid to upper-level clouds possible ahead of the next storm system. Wednesday night looks like a good chance for overall decent aurora viewing conditions in the area.

Fairbanks should see clouds starting to break late afternoon to early evening on Tuesday with conditions looking decent for Tuesday evening and Wednesday looks to be perfect for viewing aurora activity. As with Anchorage, Fairbanks will enjoy a beautiful day on Wednesday with a chance to see some patchy mid to upper-level clouds moving in late Wednesday and into Thursday (Feb 24) morning.

High pressure starts to break down across the area Thursday into Friday (Feb 25) as another storm system moves into Alaska from the south, followed by a second system late Friday and into Saturday (Feb 26). Conditions right now for Thursday through Sunday (Feb 27) look to be quite unsettled with a few breaks in the clouds possible Saturday and Sunday night.

Keep in mind, these forecasts can (and usually do) change for any period outside of the third day. If I notice anything significant change, I’ll post to the comments.

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2 Comments

  1. It looks like the only major update for this outlook is tonight’s (Wednesday) weather. The high pressure (fair weather/clear skies) has weakened quite a bit and drifted further east. This has allowed significant cloud cover to move into southern Alaska and mid to upper-level clouds to move in further north. Fairbanks is seeing aurora activity tonight through breaks in the cloud cover (as indicated on the Poker Flats camera). The rest of this forecast into Sunday still looks to be on track.

  2. There are some indications that clouds will clear out across Alaska for Friday/Saturday night and into Sunday. I am not confident this will happen. I still believe we will see breaks in the cloud cover, but the series of storm systems rotating up through Alaska leads me to believe clear skies will be very, very limited through the weekend.

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