First Significant U.S. Snowfall of the Season Piling Up This Weekend

Chris Dolce
Published: August 13, 2017

The calendar may say early August, but for one part of the United States, the first significant snowfall of the season is piling up this weekend.

Given the time of year, it's probably no surprise that the location in the U.S. is Alaska (though snow can also fall in the higher terrain of the Lower 48 in August as well).

(MORE: Signs of Fall That Can Appear in August)

A cold front pushed cooler air into northern Alaska to begin the weekend and now a strong area of low pressure has developed over the state. That weather system is helping to generate snow in northern Alaska's Brooks Range and western North Slope, as well as some higher terrain areas in other parts of the state.


Snowfall Outlook

The National Weather Service says that snow levels will fall to near pass level in the Brooks Range this weekend. A total of 3-6 inches of snow is possible in the Brooks Range through Sunday evening west of the Dalton Highway. Lighter amounts are forecast for the Dalton Highway and Atigun Pass.

"Those with outdoor activities or travel plans in the Brooks Range especially over Atigun Pass over the weekend should be prepared for winter weather conditions," the NWS warned in a statement.

(MORE: Winter Storm Central)

Winter storm warnings have been issued by the NWS in August during the past two years in our nation's 49th state. This occurred on Aug. 22 (2016) and Aug. 26 (2015), and both were in the Brooks Range.

The NWS has not issued a winter weather advisory, winter storm watch or winter storm warning for the snow this weekend.

Snow in northern Alaska during August is not uncommon.

The average first measurable snow in Utqiaġvik, formerly known as Barrow, typically occurs near Aug. 23. Farther south, Fairbanks has seen snow as early as Aug. 25, but the average first measurable snow usually arrives in late September.

For comparison, the earliest the first measurable snow typically arrives in lower elevations of the Lower 48 is October, mainly near the Canadian border.

(MORE: Here's When the First Snow Typically Arrives in the U.S.)


The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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