Warmer than normal conditions
for much of Alaska in December
Ketchikan cooler than normal
January 10, 2008
Ketchikan, Alaska - To round out 2007, warmer than normal conditions
prevailed for much of Alaska, while the Panhandle was cooler
than normal for December. The northwest coast had the strongest
positive temperature anomalies with average monthly temperatures
more than 6 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. Temperatures in
the Panhandle averaged several degrees below normal for the month.
Precipitation was generally quite light across the state with
most areas experiencing a deficit of snow. The winter solstice
occurred on December 21, which is the shortest day of the year
in the northern hemisphere.
Cooler than normal weather
prevailed in Ketchikan this December. The first week had well
below normal temperatures as well as dry conditions. A transition
occurred during the second week to a more seasonable pattern,
with near normal temperatures and no dry days for the remainder
of the month. Liquid water equivalent precipitation totaled 15.3
inches, about an inch and a half above average. Temperatures
averaged right around freezing for the month at 32.1 degrees
Fahrenheit (3.4 degrees below normal for December). The average
high and low temperatures were 35 degrees and 29 degrees, respectively.
The highest observed temperature was 44 degrees and occurred
on December 15 and again on the 24th. The low for the month was
11 degrees Fahrenheit and was reported on December 3. Heating
degree-days were about 100 units more than normal at 1,012 units.
Ketchikan - December
Graphic courtesy Alaska Climate Research Center
The weather was cooler and drier on average in Juneau this December.
The first week was quite cool and without a trace of precipitation.
The last three weeks had near or above normal temperatures, with
light precipitation. The mean temperature for the month was 27.4
degrees Fahrenheit (1.3 degrees below normal). The average high
and low temperatures were 32 degrees and 23 degrees, respectively.
On December 23, the high for the month of 43 degrees was observed.
On December 3rd and 4th, the low of 0 degrees Fahrenheit was
reported. Heating degree-days were slightly above normal, due
to the cool temperatures, and totaled 1,159 units. Liquid water
equivalent precipitation was 3.75 inches, which is below the
normal 5.41 for December. Snowfall was about 8 inches less than
normal for the month, with 12.9 inches. For the season to date,
the total is about half of normal at 17.4 inches.
Warmth and a lack of snowfall continued into December for Fairbanks.
The mean monthly temperature was minus 3.4 degrees Fahrenheit,
which is 2.5 degrees above average. The average high and low
temperatures were 5 degrees Fahrenheit and minus 11 degrees Fahrenheit,
respectively. The absolute high and low temperatures were 26
degrees on December 2 and 43 degrees below zero on December 20.
Heating degree-days totaled 2,111 units, about 90 below normal
for December. Liquid water equivalent precipitation was 0.31
inch, less than half of normal. Snowfall totaled a mere 6 inches,
also less than half of normal. To date, the winter season in
Fairbanks has received 19.7 inches of snow. This amount is well
below the normal cumulative total of 42.2 inches. By the start
of 2008 there were 9 inches of snow on the ground at the Fairbanks
International Airport, which is about 9 inches below normal for
this time of year.
The average temperature in December at Big Delta was 1.8 degrees
Fahrenheit, a positive departure of 1.7 degrees. The average
high and low for the month was 7 degrees Fahrenheit and minus
4 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. On December 11, the high
for the month, 22 degrees, was observed. The month's low, minus
34 degrees, occurred December 19. Heating degree-days were about
55 units less than normal at 1,959 units. The total liquid water
equivalent precipitation was a tenth of an inch more than normal
with 0.49 inch, most of which came during the second half of
Warm and dry was the weather story in Anchorage this December.
There were some wide temperature swings during the first three
weeks, but temperatures stabilized to near normal for the rest
of the month. The mean monthly temperature was 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit
above average at 19 degrees. The month's average high and low
temperatures were 24 degrees Fahrenheit and 14 degrees Fahrenheit,
respectively. The high for the month, 44 degrees, was reported
December 8. The month's low, 8 degrees below zero, occurred on
the 19th and 20th. With the overall warmth, heating degree-days
were about 50 units below normal at 1,419 units. Liquid water
equivalent precipitation was 0.43 inch below normal with 0.62
inch. A total of 13.8 inches of snow fell during the month, about
an inch less than normal for December. Almost half of the monthly
snowfall occurred December 11, with a 6-inch snowfall that day.
At month's end, 5 inches of snow were on the ground at the Ted
Stevens Anchorage International Airport. Snowfall to date is
just a few inches below normal, with 31.7 inches.
Barrow had the second warmest December on record. The average
temperature was just below zero at minus 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit
(a departure of 10.2 degrees Fahrenheit) and is one degree behind
the record warmest December that occurred in 1983. The high and
low temperatures averaged 6 degrees and 7 degrees below zero,
respectively. Despite the extreme warmth, temperatures did dip
during the third week of the month. On the 21st, the low of minus
42 degrees Fahrenheit tied the record low for that date. This
also was the low
for the month. On December 7, the highest temperature of 24 degrees
was observed. Heating degree-days were 320 units below normal
at 2,027. Liquid water equivalent precipitation totaled a mere
0.06-inch, half of normal for December. For the season, snowfall
totaled 30.4 inches, well above the normal cumulative total of
17.8 inches. Measurable snowfall occurred on 11 days during the
month for a total of 4.8 inches, which is about twice the normal
amount. A total of 10 inches were on the ground at the airport
by year's end.
To round out the year, it was rather snowy in Nome. Snowfall
totaled 24.7 inches at the airport, which is about a foot above
the normal December snowfall total. December 2007 ranks as the
fifth snowiest on record. There were 21 days with snow and 10
days with snowfall greater than one inch. A total of 22 inches
were on the ground by the end of the month. This amount of snowfall
is roughly 10 inches more than normal for this time of year.
Seasonal snowfall total at years end was 38.7 inches, about 7
inches above average. Liquid water equivalent precipitation also
was above normal, with 1.43 inches. Temperatures showed wide
swings throughout the month. On December 2, the high for the
month, 38 degrees Fahrenheit, set a new record for that date.
From December 20 to 22, the low for the month of 27 degrees occurred.
Overall, the month averaged 3 degrees above normal. The mean
monthly temperature was 11.4 degrees. The average high and low
for the month were 19 degrees and 4 degrees, respectively. Heating
degree-days were about 100 below normal at 1,658 units.
Temperatures in King Salmon showed a lot of variability in what
was an overall warmer than normal December. There was a record
high temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit on December 1, which
also was the high for the month. On Christmas, the low for the
month, minus 19 degrees, was observed. The average high and low
temperatures were 26 degrees and 11 degrees, respectively. Both
temperatures were about a degree warmer than normal. The mean
temperature for the month also was about a degree warmer than
normal at 18.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Heating degree-days totaled
1,434 units, about 50 less than normal. Liquid water equivalent
precipitation was slightly above normal, with 1.51 inches. Snowfall
totaled 9.1 inches, just a few tenths of an inch less than normal
for December. The seasonal total at the end of the year was 16.7
inches, about 3 inches below average. There were 2 inches of
snow on the ground at the start of 2008.
This information consists of preliminary climatological data
that was compiled at the Alaska Climate Research Center, Geophysical
Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks.
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