Climate Highlights and Other News

April 2018

Unseasonable Windstorm in Anchorage    

An unusually strong storm for so late in the season in the southeast Bering Sea brought very strong winds to the Anchorage area on April 24. Winds gusted to 55 mph at Anchorage Airport and 60 mph at Merrill Field, and hillside winds were clocked to 90 to 100 mph in some places. Numerous trees came down in the wind, and nearly 25,000 customers from Anchorage to Chugiak lost electrical power, some for more than 12 hours. 

March 2018

Mild Winter Low Temperature at Anchorage    

The low temperature at the Anchorage Airport for the entire winter was only -2°F (-19°C), on several days in early February. This ties with the winter of 2002-03 as the second mildest winter low temperature. The only winter in Anchorage history that failed to have even one day below 0°F was 2000-01, when the low was +2°F (-17°C). 

Heavy Snow in Southeast Alaska    

Heavy snow fell over parts of central Southeast starting March 26 and continuing into March 27. Total snowfalls included 9.6" (24cm) at Elfin Cove, 9.2" (23cm) at the Juneau Airport, 8.8" (22cm) at Annex Creek and 7.5" at the Snettisham Power Plant. 

Heavy Snow over Eastern Kenai Peninsula    

Heavy snow was reported across the eastern Kenai Peninsula and upper Turnagain Arm area March 8 to 9. In Seward there was an estimated 12" (30cm) of snow, while in Girdwood a storm total of 14" (36cm) was reported. Whittier reported 25" (63cm), with similar amounts estimated across Turnagain Pass. As is often the case, the storm brought much lighter amounts, generally 2 to 4" (5-10cm) to the immediate Anchorage area. 

Heavy Snow Around Bristol Bay    

Heavy snow fell in the Bristol Bay region March 6 through 8. King Salmon reported 15.9" (40.4cm) of snow March 7-8th, the fourth highest 2-day total of record. A storm total of 17" (43cm) was reported from Iliamna and 10-12" (28cm) at Levelock. 

Near Record Warm March and Late Winter at St. Paul    

The average temperature at St. Paul Island in the Pribilofs for March was 33.3°F (0.7°C), making this the warmest March in more than 80 years. The only milder March months were in 1935 and 1937.  This was also the second mildest late winter (January through March) season of record, with an average temperature of 32.9°F (0.5°F). Only late winter 1937 was milder, with an average of 33.6°F (0.9°F). 

Daily Record Highs at Utqiaġvik (Barrow)    

Utqiaġvik (Barrow) recorded a couple of daily record high temperatures in March. On the March 6, the high temperature of 21°F (-6°C) exceeded the previous record of 19°F (-7°C) set in 2003. On the last day of March, the high of 30°F (-1°C) exceeded the previous record of 28°F (-2°C) that had stood since 1936. 

March Record Low Bering Sea Ice Extent    

Sea ice extent in the Bering Sea remained at the lowest levels of record through March. The average daily ice extent from the National Snow and Ice Data Center database was only 40% of the 1981-2010 normal and by far lower than any year of record. 

Record Warm Cold Season for Western and Northern Alaska    

The six month October through March "cold season" was the warmest of record (since 1925) from the Aleutians northward across western Alaska and North Slope. Much of the rest of the state was also unusually mild. The primary exception was the eastern Gulf of Alaska and Southeast, where for the six months, temperatures were not too far from normal. 

Near Record Warm March at Kotzebue    

The average temperature at Kotzebue in March was 12.8°F (-10.7°C). This 11.7°F (6.5°C) warmer than normal and ranks as the second warmest March of record. The only milder March was in 1998, when the average temperature was 13.5°F (-10.3°C).

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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