JUNEAU, Alaska — Forecasters say Juneau has seen measurable snowfall before Fairbanks for the first time in over 70 years.

The National Weather Service reported on Sunday that Juneau was one of the first communities in Alaska to have snowfall this season.

“Fairbanks has not seen any snow yet so far this season, neither has Anchorage. Nome has had zero. Kotzebue has had zero,” meteorologist Edward Liske told KTOO-FM (http://bit.ly/2dXjq6b). “The only place that really has had measurable snow this season has been Barrow with a tenth of an inch so far.”

The state’s capital had 2 inches of snow in the downtown area on Sunday, 5 inches near the airport and 8 to 9 inches in the Mendenhall Valley.

The precipitation began as a mix of rain and snow that hit Juneau on Saturday.

“As we started getting heavier and heavier rain, or heavier and heavier (precipitation), it just made the surface temperatures colder and colder to the point that the rain changed over to snow during Saturday evening,” Liske said.

Juneau’s early snow will likely melt this week, as Liske says the city will see more rain and return to warmer weather conditions.

Juneau has been experiencing an unusually dry October that Liske attributed to an area of high pressure surrounding much of Interior Alaska and the Gulf of Alaska.

“That ridge has actually been deflecting a lot of our storm systems that we usually see farther south,” Liske said. “The storms that the Pacific Northwest has been seeing over the last several days (are) basically those storm systems that have been deflected farther south.”

Juneau has had snowfall earlier in the past, including in 1974 and 2000, when the first sign of measurable snow came on Oct. 2.

Information from: KTOO-FM, http://www.ktoo.org

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