SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Snow, with colder than normal conditions in April
Handful of low temperature records broken in Ketchikan


May 05, 2008


It was a snowy April across Alaska, in what is normally one of the driest months of the year. Quite a few record daily and monthly snowfall totals were observed at locations across the state. Accordingly, precipitation in water equivalence was above normal. Along with the snow, colder than normal conditions prevailed, and mean monthly temperatures around Alaska were 2 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit below average. An exception to this was the Arctic coast that experienced relative warmth for this time of year, and positive temperature departures around 8 degrees Fahrenheit.

A handful of low temperature records were broken in Ketchikan this April in a cooler and wetter than normal month. Lows of 28 degrees Fahrenheit on April 19, 26 degrees on April 21, 26 degrees on April 22, 27 degrees on April 24, and another 26 degrees on April 25 all broke records for their respective dates. The absolute low for the month was 26 degrees Fahrenheit. The absolute high was 55 degrees Fahrenheit on April 22 and 23. The mean monthly temperature was 3.6 degrees cooler than normal at 43 degrees. The average high and low temperatures were 47 degrees and 32 degrees, respectively. Due to the relative cold, heating degree-days were about 100 units more than normal for the month at 759. The one-day precipitation total of 4.4 inches on April 11 was a mere tenth-of-an-inch shy of the record highest amount for that date. The total precipitation for the month was 12.91 inches. There were three days when precipitation was greater than one inch.

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The big weather story in Juneau this April was the high snowfall totals around mid-month. At the airport, 10.2 inches fell on April 16 and 17. When combined with some snow earlier in the month, this made a total of 13.7 inches of snow. This is well above the normal 1 inch that usually falls in April, and brings the seasonal total to-date to 111.5 inches, 113 percent of normal. Liquid water equivalent precipitation was 1.83 inches above normal at 4.79 inches. Temperatures were on the cool side as the average monthly temperature was 38.3 degrees Fahrenheit. Nighttime lows of 21 degrees and 17 degrees on April 17 and 18, set new record lows for their respective dates. The latter was the low for the month, while the high for the month reached 60 degrees on April 23. The average high and low temperatures also were a few degrees below normal at 45 degrees Fahrenheit and 31 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. Heating degree-days totaled 769 units for the month, about 50 more than normal. For the season-to-date, the total is 7,655 units.

Despite a deficit of snow for much of the winter, Fairbanks got its fair share in April, along with lower than normal temperatures. The April snowfall total of 14.7 inches ranks as the third highest on record, as did the precipitation total of 1.27 inches. The normal snowfall and precipitation totals for April are 2.8 and 0.21 inches, respectively. There were two record-breaking daily events that occurred during the month. On April 14, 0.31 inches of liquid water equivalent precipitation was recorded, and 0.34 inches came April 30. Also on April 30, there was a record-breaking late-season snow event, with 3.8 inches. For the season to-date, the cumulative snowfall total is 55.6 inches, about a foot less than normal. Temperatures averaged below normal by 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit, with a mean for the month of 29.5 degrees. The high temperature for the month reached 59 degrees on both April 21 and 23. The low for the month was minus 5 degrees on April 17. The average high and low temperatures were 40 degrees and 19 degrees, respectively. Heating degree-days were about 60 units more than normal, with a total of 1,057 for the month. For the season-to-date, the total is 12,709, a negative departure of nearly 600 units.

Big Delta started April off on the warm side, but temperatures dropped after the first five days, and remained cool until the third week of the month. The average temperature for April was 30 degrees Fahrenheit, 2.1 degrees cooler than normal. The average high and low temperatures were 39 degrees and 21 degrees, respectively. Along with the cooler weather came above normal heating degree-days, with a total of 1,045 units for the month. This was 58 units above average. Precipitation totaled 0.45 inch, slightly more than normal for April. Almost half of the precipitation came on April 30. No snow data were available.

Record snow and precipitation greeted Anchorage this April. After the snow was seemingly gone for the season, 17.2 inches fell at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. Even more snow was recorded in surrounding areas on April 25 and 26. The 15.5-inch total on April 25 was a record for the date. In addition, the total monthly snowfall of 30.8 inches set a new record, and far surpasses the average 4.1 inches for April. Despite the heavy snow late in the month, above-freezing temperatures caused it all to melt by month's end. For the seasonal total to-date: Anchorage has received 109.1 inches of snow. This is 39.7 inches more than normal. The total liquid water equivalent precipitation for the month also set a new record of 2.32 inches, which is more than four times the normal April total. Overall, temperatures were cooler than normal for the month, with an average of 34 degrees Fahrenheit, 2.3 degrees below normal. The high temperature averaged
42 degrees. The low monthly temperature averaged 26 degrees. The absolute high and low for the month were 58 degrees on April 23, and 14 degrees on April 10. Heating degree-days totaled 922 units, about 60 more than normal. The cumulative total for the season to-date is 9,151 units. This is about 450 units less than normal, indicative of a warmer than normal winter.

Aside from the second week of the month, April brought well above normal temperatures to Barrow this year. Two record high temperatures started off the month, with 25 degrees Fahrenheit on April 1 and 30 degrees Fahrenheit on April 2. The absolute high of 32 degrees was reported on April 24, while the absolute low was minus 27 degrees on April 12. The mean temperature for the month was 7.5 degrees Fahrenheit, a positive departure of 8 degrees. The average high and low temperatures were 15 degrees and 0 degrees, respectively. Heating degree-days totaled 1,720 units for the month, about 250 less than normal for April. Since July 1 2007, the cumulative heating degree-day total is almost 4,000 units less than normal at 15,868 for the season. This is the lowest total to-date on record. Snowfall was 10.9 inches at the airport, 3.8 of which came on April 5, setting a new daily snowfall record. Liquid equivalent precipitation totaled 0.36 inches on April 5, also
setting a new record for that date. The total precipitation for the month was 0.72 inches, well above the normal 0.12 inches. By month's end, 22 inches were on the ground at the airport.

For Nome, above normal snowfall amounts continued into April, which was an overall colder than normal month. Snowfall was more than 8 inches above normal for April, with 15 inches reported at the airport. The season-to-date snowfall total is 107.9 inches, a departure of more than 43 inches from average, and is the second highest seasonal snowfall total. Snow on the ground totaled 25 inches by month's end. Liquid equivalent precipitation was three-tenths-of-an-inch above normal for the month at 0.95 inches. Temperatures averaged 15.1 degrees for the month, 4.3 degrees Fahrenheit below normal for April. The average high and low temperatures were 22 degrees and 8 degrees, respectively. The absolute high and low temperatures for the month were 40 degrees on April 20, and minus 16 degrees April 9 and 10. Because of the cooler weather, heating degree-days were about 130 units above normal for the month at 1,494. Since July 1, the cumulative total is right about average at 12,446 units.

It was a cool and wet April in King Salmon this year. The average temperature for the month was 28.7 degrees Fahrenheit. The average high and low temperatures were 38 degrees and 20 degrees, respectively. The absolute high for the month tied a record at 56 degrees on April 22. The absolute low was 4 degrees on April 11. Heating degree-days were about 125 units more than normal at 1,084. Season-to-date, the heating degree-days total is 10,156, almost 800 more units than normal. Snowfall was almost an inch more than normal for April as well, with 5.2 inches. Since July 1, a total of 42.3 inches of snow has occurred at the airport. Precipitation in liquid water equivalence totaled 1.09 inches for the month, 115 percent of normal.

This information consists of preliminary climatological data that was compiled by the Alaska Climate Research Center, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks.



Source of News & Graphic:

Alaska Climate Research Center, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks


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Ketchikan, Alaska