March temperatures below normal
April 16, 2009
March temperatures were several degrees below normal statewide.
The strongest departures from normal were found in the Interior,
with mean monthly temperatures of more than 5 degrees Fahrenheit
colder than average. Although this is usual for March, daily
temperatures show a prominent diurnal range and a noticeable
increase from March 1 to 31, due to the lengthening days. Snowfall
was in abundance for the western half of Alaska and parts of
the Panhandle where daily and monthly snowfall records were broken
in some areas. The vernal equinox, or time of equal daylight
and darkness across the globe, occurred March 20.
Temperatures averaged about 4 degrees below average in Ketchikan
for March. The mean monthly temperature was 43 degrees Fahrenheit.
The mercury dipped to 13 degrees the evening of March 9. The
mercury rose to 43 degrees on March 2, March 27 and March 30.
The average high and low temperatures were more moderate. They
were 39 degrees and 29 degrees, respectively. Heating degree-days
were 75 units more than normal at 889 units for the month. Precipitation
was nearly 5 inches less than normal for March, with 6.73 inches
reported. Precipitation occurred on all but six days during March.
The highest daily amount of precipitation was 1.35 inches March
23. Winds at the airport averaged 7 mph. Snowfall in Ketchikan
was observed in March; however, no information on snowfall of
snow depth in Ketchikan was reported by
FAA's Flight Service at Ketchikan Airport.
Snowfall in Juneau was well above normal for March. The airport
had 31.3 inches of snow, which was 20 inches more than normal
for March. There were three daily snow events greater than four
inches: 4.3 inches on March 2, 4.5 inches on March 12, and 4.7
inches on March 10. For the season-to-date, snowfall was nearly
twice the normal amount at 177.7 inches. Water equivalent precipitation
was below normal at 2.95 inches. Temperatures were on the cool
side, particularly for the first 10 days of the month. The average
temperature was 28.5 degrees Fahrenheit, which was about 5 degrees
below normal for March. The month's high and low temperatures
averaged between 34 and 23 degrees Fahrenheit. The month's high
temperature was 41 degrees. It occurred March 23. The month's
low temperature was 2 degrees, which occurred March 9. Heating
degree-days totaled 1,123 units, 150 units more than normal.
Winds at the airport averaged 7 mph and the highest gust reported
was 44 mph March 26.
March brought cooler and wetter than normal weather to Anchorage
this year. Snowfall totaled 14.8 inches for the month, which
was 4.5 inches more than normal. The season-to-date total for
snow was 91.8 inches at the end of March. This was more than
2 feet above normal for the time of year. Snow on the ground
totaled 14 inches at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport
by month's end. Liquid equivalent precipitation totaled 1.10
inches, almost twice the normal amount for March. The mean monthly
temperature was 22.7 degrees Fahrenheit, a negative departure
of 3.2 degrees. The average high and low temperatures were 30
degrees and 16 degrees, respectively. The monthly high was 42
degrees on March 26. The low occurred on March 2. It was minus
4 degrees below zero. Heating degree-days totaled 1,303 units,
almost 100 units more than normal for March. Winds averaged 6
mph at the airport and a high gust of 35 mph was reported March
In a month when snowfall normally
averages just 5.5 inches, Fairbanks received 15.5 inches in March
2009. This large amount is due partly to a record daily snowfall
for March 5 that brought 9 inches of snow. The total water equivalent
precipitation of 0.69 inches on March 5 was also a record. At
the end of the March, the seasonal snowfall total to date was
71.5 inches, about 6 inches more than normal for that time of
year. The monthly water equivalent precipitation totaled 1.09
inches, which is 0.81 inches more than normal for the month.
The Fairbanks International Airport reported 26 inches of snow
on the ground at the end of March. Temperatures averaged 5.5
degrees below normal at 5.6 degrees Fahrenheit. High and low
temperatures averaged 18 degrees and minus 7 degrees, respectively.
The monthly high and low temperatures were 40 degrees March 29,
and 27 degrees below zero March 15. Heating degree-days totaled
1,832 units, which is 162 units more than normal for March. Winds
at the airport averaged nearly 6 mph, with a high wind gust of
40 mph observed March 6.
Temperatures averaged well below normal in Big Delta in March.
The mean monthly temperature was 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit, which
is nearly 8 degrees colder than normal. High and low temperatures
averaged 15 degrees and minus 3 degrees, respectively. The month's
high was 39 degrees on March 30. The low for the month occurred
March 3. It was minus 24 degrees. Heating degree-days were above
average at 1,641 units for the month. Liquid equivalent precipitation
totaled 0.06 inches, below normal for March. However, for three
days there was missing data. Winds were particularly strong from
March 8 to 11 and March 22 to 25. The month's average wind speed
was nearly 11 mph.
In Nome, heavy snows continued on into March. The monthly total
was 28.9 inches of snow. This was not quite a record, but nevertheless
is almost two feet more than normal for March. An astounding
15.5 inches of snow fell March 8. As of March 31, the total seasonal
snowfall was 103.7 inches. This was nearly 46 inches more than
normal for March. There was 72 inches of snow on the ground by
the end of the month, which also is well above normal for Nome.
Temperatures averaged 4.1 degrees cooler than normal and the
temperature for the month was 5.3 degrees Fahrenheit. The average
high and low temperatures were 14 degrees and minus 3 degrees
below zero. The monthly high was 33 degrees March 5. The monthly
low was 22 degrees below zero. It occurred March 15. Heating
degree-days were 139 units above average at 1,849 units. Winds
averaged almost 11 mph at the airport. The highest gust for the
month was 49 mph. It was March 8.
Overall, Barrow had a cooler than normal March. The average temperature
was minus 15.7 degrees Fahrenheit, two degrees below normal.
High and low temperatures averaged between minus 9 degrees and
22 degrees below zero. The highest temperature for the month
was 5 degrees Fahrenheit March 1. The month's lowest temperature
was minus 36 degrees March 21. Heating degree-days were about
70 units more than normal at 2,494 units for the month. Snowfall
totaled 2.8 inches for March, which is one inch more than
normal. A total of 15 inches of snow was on the ground by April
1. Liquid water equivalent precipitation was a one-tenth-of-an-inch,
which was normal for March. Winds averaged 12 mph. The highest
gust was 51 mph on March 9.
King Salmon had a colder than normal March in 2009. There also
was a record-setting snowfall total that was two feet more than
normal for the month. Even though temperatures were well above
normal during the first week of March, a change came at mid-month
that ushered in a week of colder than normal weather. Overall,
the temperature for the month was 5.6 degrees cooler than normal
at 17.9 degrees Fahrenheit. The high for the month was 44 degrees
on March 4 and 5. The month's low temperature was minus 12 degrees
Fahrenheit on March 22. On average, high and low temperatures
were 25 degrees and 11 degrees, respectively. Heating degree-days
totaled 1,455 units, nearly 170 units more than normal due to
the colder temperatures. Snowfall was abundant throughout the
March as 29.9 inches of snow were reported at the airport. This
amount of snow set a new March record. The highest one-day total
snowfall was 7.2 inches that fell March 23. The snowfall set
a record for the date. At the end of March, there was 7 inches
of snow on the ground. The seasonal snowfall total- to-date was
72.8 inches. This amount is 31.5 inches more than normal. Liquid
equivalent precipitation totaled 1.53 inches, a positive departure
by three-quarters-of-an-inch. Winds averaged nearly 11 mph at
the airport. A gust of 59 mph was reported March 25.
This information consists of preliminary climatological data
compiled by the Alaska Climate Research Center, Geophysical Institute,
University of Alaska Fairbanks. For more information on weather
and climatology, visit http://akclimate.org.
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Alaska Climate Research Center,
Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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