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National Weather Service - Anchorage Weather Forecast Office
 |  About Us  |  Staff  |  Outreach  |  Newsletter Archive  | 

Anchorage Forecast Office on Sand Lake Road

The National Weather Service Mission

The National Weather Service (NWS) provides weather, hydrologic and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas for the protection of life and property and enhancement of the national economy. NWS data and products form a national informational data base and infrastructure, which can be used by other government agencies, the private sector, the public and the global community.

Our Office and Visiting Hours

The Anchorage Forecast Office is located at 6930 Sand Lake Road.  Normal visiting hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays. The Sand Lake Office is also home to the Alaska Aviation Weather Unit, the Alaska River Forecast Center, and various electronics and maintenance units.  If you are interested in taking a tour, please fill out our tour request form.

About Our Forecast Area

The Anchorage Forecast Office area of responsibility spans the southern portion of the state from the Canadian border just north of Yakutat all the way west to the end of the Aleutian chain. This includes all territory south of the Alaska Range and most areas south of the Yukon River. The Fairbanks office is responsible for the area north of this border and the Juneau office is responsible for the panhandle region.

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Anchorage Forecast Office Area of Responsibility

The Anchorage forecast area is comprised of a variety of climates, from the temperate rainforest along the coast of the Gulf of Alaska, to the cold maritime climate of the Aleutians, to the taiga forest of the Kuskowim valley. The coastal or marine areas vary least in temperature while the interior regions can range from a low of -40 F (-40 C) in the winter to a high of 80 F (46C). There are a variety of forecast challenges that occur in this wide region. In the winter, strong winter storms can bring blizzards to the west coast, wind over 70 miles an hour all across the forecast area, and snow falls of up to 2 feet to the zones bordering the Gulf of Alaska. Summertime brings drier weather, which can lead to extreme fire danger and thunderstorms, which can be severe at times. Tornados have occured in our forecast area, particularly in the western regions. If you are interested in climate statistics for our zones please visit our Climate Page.

Our Operations and Products

Our forecast operations run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  We issue two forecast packages a day, at 5 a.m. and 4 p.m. local time.  These forecast packages include public zone forecasts, marine forecasts for the offshore region and for coastal waters, and any watches and warnings for hazardous weather.  For the aviation community, we issue Terminal Aerodrome Forecasts (TAFs) for 17 locations in our region. These are issued four times a day, at 6, 12, 18 and 24 (00) hours Greenwich Mean Time, otherwise known as Universal Time Clock (UTC) or Zulu time.  We also issue a number of other products throughout the day, including Area Forecast Discussions, Public Information Statements, Regional Weather Roundups, and Short Term Forecasts.  We constantly monitor the weather and update our products to provide the best possible service.

The Anchorage Office is also the location of one of the state’s fourteen upper air locations.  Twice a day, we launch a weather balloon with a radiosonde attached.  The radiosonde is a small instrument that measures temperature, relative humidity and pressure and relays the information by radio signal back to an antenna on the ground.  This antenna also tracks the radiosonde and stores that data for wind speed and direction calculations.  The balloon launch takes place at 3 a.m. and 3 p.m. ADT or 2 a.m. and 2 p.m. AST.  If you are interested in watching a balloon launch, please fill out our tour request form.

National Weather Service
Anchorage Forecast Office
6930 Sand Lake Road
Anchorage, Ak 99502
(907) 266-5105 M-F/7-5pm
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