Dry Spell To End, As Alaska Gets Record Snow

Calif. dry spell about to end; Alaska pounded with snow.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Becky Bravo

    As a dry Bay Area coughs its way through an endless stream of Spare the Air days and Tahoe skiiers and snowboarders learn dirt-sledding, Californians should take heart: rain and snow are on their way.

    And it could be worse: we could be Alaska, where record snowfalls are dumping hundreds of inches upon desperate denizens barely able to dig themselves out.

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    A pattern of pressure and wind called the "Arctic Oscillation" is teaming up with La Nina to keep storms away from the Bay Area -- and lined up directly overhead places like Alaska, according to the Associated Press.

    The Oscillation changes the air patterns to the south, meaning that the wet weather that La Nina normally has it store for the Lower 48 states is locked over Alaska, according to weather experts.

    This means that as Anchorage, Alaska is on track for its snowiest winter on record -- with three months of winter left -- cities and towns in California are flirting with record high temperatures for January.

    Next week, the jet stream -- which usually brings wet weather and snow over our region, and would if not for the oscillation -- will shift and end northern California's summer in winter. By Wednesday, rain should begin in the North Bay and then continue south and east, the Chronicle reported.

    That might not make up for what's been a brown ski season for Tahoe resorts and those who rely on lift tickets for daily bread, experts say.

    Nonetheless, weather watchers halted at dubbing the dry spell a drought. It was the driest December in 22 years, according to meterologists, with more snow in Texas than in Donner Pass.