Climate Highlights and Other News

October 2018

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). 

Flooding Rains in Seward    

Seward is no stranger to heavy rain, but October 15 and 16 produced flooding and high water that forced city officials to cancel after-school activities as three to six inches of rain fell in the area. At the Seward Airport, 2.64" (67mm) of rain fell in the 12hr period between 4pm October 15 and 4am October 16. At Exit Glacier, five inches (125mm) of rain was recorded from the afternoon of October 15 through October 16, While the Seward Highway remained open, the footpath across the Lowell Creek Bridge was closed while crews removed debris and some side roads were impassible. 

September 2018

Record Dry September at Cordova    

In an average September the Cordova Airport receives 13.61" (346mm) of rain. This September brought barely a quarter of that, with the total of 3.64" (92mm) the lowest September rainfall of record. The previous driest September was in 1955, when 4.32" (110mm) of rain fell. Climate observations have been made at the Cordova Airport since the summer of 1942. 

Record Long Dry Streak at Yakutat    

September really kicks off the the rainy season  in Yakutat, with an average September rainfall of 21.11" (536mm), However, this year not only was the 3.17" (81mm) the second lowest of record, but absolutely no rain at all fell for 20 consecutive days between September 2 and 21. This is the longest streak of no rain at all of record in Yakutat at this time of year, breaking the previous record of 17 days set September 28 through October 14, 2016. 

Late Season Thunderstorm at Anchorage    

Thunder is unusual anytime of the year in Anchorage, but when storms do happen it's mostly during the summer months. However, on September 24 there was widespread thunder in the Anchorage urban area, accompanied in many areas by gusty winds and small hail. This was the first September thunderstorm reported at the Anchorage airport since 2005 and the latest in the season since the thunderstorm of October 04, 2006. 

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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