The Zitziana River and nearby Mooseheart wildfires, south of Manley Hot Springs, were started by lightning during the first week June and grew significantly during the following week, when over 100 fire fighters were dispatched to protect property. Smoke from these fires blew into Fairbanks on the evening of June 14, reducing visibility to less than two miles for several hours. The fires were intermittently active through late July, and the Zitziana River Fire finished up burning just under 70,000 acres, the largest single wildfire of the 2018 season.
Fairbanks Airport had eight days in June with thunder. This is more than twice the long term average and the most June days with thunder since 2007.
The average temperature in July at Annette was 63.9°F (17.7°C). This is easily the warmest July of record (previous warmest was 62.4°F (16.9°C)) in 1958 and just exceeds August 2016 (63.6°F (17.6°C) as the warmest calendar month of record.
Snow fell across some higher elevations of the Interior on the morning of June 12. Falling snow was reported from above 1600' in the hills north of Fairbanks and a light accumulation was noted on Murrphy Dome above 2500' MSL. In Denali National Park 4" (10cm) accumluaed along the road above 3500' MSL.
Very early melt-out of sea ice in Kotzebue Sound, with nearly all the ice gone by the end of May helped boost June temperatures on coastal areas of Alaska along the southern Chukchi Sea. At Kotzebue, the average temperature for the month was 52.9°F (11.6°C). This is more than 7°F (4°C) warmer than normal and the second warmest June of record. Only June 2004 was warmer with an average temperature of 53.4°F (11.9°C). Climate observations have been made with only a few breaks at Kotzebue since 1936.
Light snow over the higher elevations of the Glenn Highway between Glennallen and Sutton is not unusual in early June, but overnight Jun 11-12 heavy snow fell above 3000' elevation. At the Eureka Roadhouse, 8 to 10 inches (20-25cm) accumulated. Accumalting snow was also reported over Thompson Pass on the Richardson Highway east of Valdez.
In this issue
The 2017-18 Bering Sea ice season drew to a close in May. Like each month since November, the monthly average extent was the lowest in the 40-year record maintained by the National Snow and Ice Data Center. The average daily ice extent this month was only 7 percent of the 1981-2010 average.
Ice on the Kuskokwim River at Bethel went out on the evening of May 2. This ties for the tenth earliest break-up in the past 90 years and is in line with the trend for increasingly early break-ups.
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