Climate Highlights and Other News

October 2018

Record Warm October at Sitka    

At Sitka, 27 of the 31 days in October were warmer than normal, and the month finished up with an average temperature of 50.6°F (10.3°C). This equals the average temperature of October 1986 as the warmest of record at Sitka. Climate observations have been made at Sitka since the mid-1940s. 

Record Warm October at Yakutat    

Rains returned to the eastern Gulf of Alaska coast during October and consistently mild temperatures persisted. At Yakutat, the average October temperature for the month of 46.5°F (8.1°C) is the warmest of record, exceeding the previous record of 45.9°F (7.7°C) set in 1980. Climate observations have been made at Yakutat with only a few breaks since 1917. 

Record Warm October at Anchorage    

Following the mildest September of record, Anchorage had the mildest October of record. The average temperature of 44.8°F (7.1°C) was 10°F (5.6°C) warmer than normal and easily exceeded the previous warmest October of 43.9°F (6.6°C) set in 2013. The first freeze of the season did not occur at the Anchorage Airport until October 28, more than a month later than average and 12 days later than the previous latest first freeze of October 16, 1969. 

Near Record Warm October at Utqiaġvik (Barrow)    

The average temperature for October at Utqiaġvik (Barrow) was 25.7°F (-3.5°C), making this the third warmest October of record. Five of the ten warmest Octobers in the past 99 years have occurred since 2012. Climate observations have been made at Utqiaġvik without a break since October 1920. 

Record Warm October at Bethel    

Bethel had the warmest October in nearly a century of climate observations. The average temperature of 41.0°F (5.0°C) was more than 10°F (5°C) above normal and edges out 1926 (40.7°F, 4.8°C) as the warmest October of record. Six of the seven mildest Octobers have occurred since 2006. 

Record Warm October at Nome    

The average temperature at Nome in October was 38.4°F (+3.6°C). This is nearly 10°F (5°C) warmer than normal, and is the warmest October in more than 110 years of climate observations in the Gold Rush City. The previous warmest October was in 2016, when the average temperature was 37.7°F (+3.2°C). Four of the top six warmest Octobers have occurred since 2006. Climate observations have been made at Nome with almost no break since late 1906.  

Freezing Rain at Circle Hot Springs    

Circle Hot Springs area was soaked with more than three-tenths of an inch (7mm) of rain on the morning of October 16, leaving roads and driveways ice coated and some vegetation encrusted in ice. Local residents reported this much freezing rain to be most unusual. 

Record Late Snowfall at Fairbanks    

Climate observations have been made in town and at the Airport since the autumn of 1904, and in that time Fairbanksians have never had to wait until October 20 for the first flakes of snow. Not until this year that is. Rain changed to snow during the morning of October 20th, and before ending produced a slushy 0.1" (0.3cm) of snow, which then quickly melted. This is more than a week later than the previous latest first snow and nearly a month later than the average date for the first snow. Interestingly though, there is no trend toward later first snows at Fairbanks. 

Heavy Rain in Kenai    

Kenai, being located to the west of the Kenai Mountains, does not often receive heavy rain. But that was not the case October 12 and 13, when 2.47" (63mm) fell at the Kenai Airport, with nearly all of that falling in the 24 hours between 10am on the 12th and 10am on the 13th. For comparison, the normal precipitation for the entire month of October at Kenai is 2.63" (67mm). 

Alaska Center for Climate Assessment & Policy

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ACCAP is a NOAA Climate Program Office Climate & Societal Interactions RISA Program.

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