(KCAW photo/Brielle Schaeffer)

While Sitka saw snow over the weekend and last night, weather forecasters say very few flurries are expected this winter. Residents can expect — and there’s no surprise here — lots of rain.

National Weather Service meteorologist Joel Curtis in Juneau says the Climate Prediction Center forecast is calling for above average temperatures and precipitation in Southeast. But, he says, over the next week cooler weather will bring some snow to the mountains before returning to the usual showers.

“The recent snow that we’ve had and the fact that we’ve had to put thunderstorms in the forecast is indicative of very cold air aloft so up at about 18,000 feet or so the air temperature has been very wintery,” Curtis said. “That being said it does look like the middle of next week we start getting more or less completely out of that cold air aloft and a lot of the forecast wording will read rain.”

It is an El Nino year and in the past those cycles have meant lots of snow. Curtis says it’s hard to predict if that is how the precipitation will work out this season.

“I wouldn’t put it as an absolute guarantee that we’ll have a low snowpack year,” he said.

However, Curtis says, with all the warm water off the coast it’s more likely that the snow in the mountains will melt and the oncoming precipitation will be wet instead of freezing.

“I would really like to be wrong and have it be a good snow year up high,” he said. “But it does look like the signal is pretty strong for a warm and wet year.”

Curtis says Sitkans should enjoy the snow while it is here before the temperature creeps up thermometer. The forecast predicts snow accumulation up to 2 inches tonight.