Heavy snow fell in Hyder on December 26-27, with 23.2" (59cm) of snow piling up before the precipitation changed to rain. Snow depth briefly reached 32" (81cm) before settling back to 20" (51cm) by December 29.
Fall 2016 saw near normal temperatures in the central Yukon and northern Northwest Territories. Every other portion of the region was above — or significantly above — normal. This is largely a result of record low Arctic Ocean sea ice. Record warm Pacific Ocean waters contributed to the unrelenting warmth of the coastal regions. Precipitation in southeast Alaska was below normal for the season and at a record low for October. Nearly every station in southeast Alaska had their driest October on record. In northwest Canada, almost all of the Yukon Territory was drier than normal. This is likely due to warm, ice-free water, which provides atmospheric heat and moisture at a time of year when it is typically locked away under ice.
In this issue
Anchorage received only 1.3" (3.3cm) of snow in November, the third lowest November snowfall total in the past 60 years. Even so, most of the city still had bare ground. A storm on December 1 finally brought widespread and significant snowfall to most of the Anchorage area. West Anchorage received more than most low elevation areas, with 7.7" (20cm) at Anchorage International Airport, which constitutes a new record for December 1. Snowfall amounts in East Anchorage were generally 3–6", with 7" reported in Midtown. The Eagle River area reported 5–9" of snow accumulation.
Heavy snow fell over parts of central Southeast Alaska on December 6 and 7. Pelican, on northern Chichagof Island, reported a whopping 31" (78.7cm) of accumulation. In the Juneau area, accumulations ranged from about 8" in downtown Juneau, 11" (28cm) on Douglas Island, 13" (33cm) in Mendenhall Valley, and 15" (38cm) at Lena Point. At the National Shrine of Saint Thérèse, about 18 miles northwest of Juneau on the Glacier Highway, 22" (56cm) of snow was reported. There was little accumulation in the town of Sitka, but 7" (18cm) of new snow was reported 6 miles south of town.
Yakutat is one of the wettest communities in Alaska, averaging more than 150" (381cm) of rain and melted snow each year, and autumn is by far Yakutat's wettest season. However, over this autumn Yakutat received only 33.44" (84cm) of precipitation. This is 58% of Yakutat's normal precipitation, making autumn 2016 the third lowest autumn total, and the lowest since 1973. Climate observations have been made at Yakutat, with a few breaks, since 1917.
The average temperature at Utqiagvik (Barrow) for the 2016 autumn season (September through November) was 26.0°F (-3.3°C). This is more than nine degrees F above normal, making this the warmest autumn on record. The previous warmest autumn was 1998, when the average temperature was 25.8°F (-3.4°C). Climate observations have been made without a break at Utqiagvik since late 1920.
A fast-moving storm produced strong and, in some places, damaging winds on November 29. Wind gusts up to 72 mph were recorded at Hydaburg, 64 mph on the roof on the Juneau Federal Building, and 58 mph on the roof of the Ketchikan Airport terminal and at Petersburg. There was roof and siding damage at Hydaburg, and in the Juneau area, a fallen tree briefly clogged Mendenhall Loop Road. Flying debris also caused minor damage to a parked car in downtown Juneau.
A strong storm pounded the Aleutians and the western Alaska Peninsula on November 26, with widespread reports of 60 to 85 mph winds. False Pass had the highest measured wind gust at 99 mph. Other gusts included 75 mph at the Unalaska Airport, 82 mph at a nearby marine weather station, 72 mph at King Cove and 74 mph at Cold Bay. Some damage was reported at Dutch Harbor, including roof damage and a large container that had fallen off of its supports and onto a vehicle.