Climate Highlights and Other News

October 2018

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. 

Snow over the Interior Uplands    

While much of the Interior saw no snow in September, several inches fell over the higher elevations of the Yukon-Tanana uplands on the 22nd and 23rd. Eagle Summit on the Steese Highway northeast of Fairbanks, at 3600' (1100 m) had to be plowed on the morning of the 23rd as up to five inches of snow accumlated. Such snowfalls are normal at less elevations in late September. 

Record Late Season Heat at Nome    

The high temperature of 61°F (19°C) at Nome on September 30 is not only a record for the date, the previous record being 52°F (11°C) set in 1969, but is easily the warmest temperature so late in season. The previous latest date it had been this warm was September 24, 1976. Climate observations have been made in Nome with very few breaks since December 1906. 

Record Late Season Warmth at Seward    

The high temperature at Seward of 76°F (24°C) on September 12 and 13 are the highest temperature of record so late in the summer. Previously, the latest date for the temperature to exceed 75F was September 10, 1910.

Alaska Center for Climate Assessment & Policy

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