SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


May temperatures near normal for much of Alaska
Cool and rainy start for Ketchikan


June 12, 2008

On the whole, May brought near normal temperatures to much of Alaska. Individual stations showed mean monthly temperature departures from normal in the range of 2 degrees Fahrenheit to minus 2 degrees Fahrenheit. Precipitation varied across the state from more than twice the normal amount in Barrow to less than half the normal amount in Southcentral Alaska. Normally, precipitation is relatively light across the state in May as compared to the late summer and early autumn.

Ketchikan had a cool and rainy start to the month of May, but finished with beautiful, warm weather. Precipitation totaled 9.21 inches, half an inch more than normal. There were four days with totals of more than 1 inch. Temperatures averaged 55.1 degrees Fahrenheit, about half a degree above normal. The average high and low temperatures were 56 degrees and 43 degrees, respectively. The high for the month, 30 degrees, was reported on May 9. Heating degree-days were about 30 units less than normal, with 486 units.

jpg Ketchikan: May 2008 weather

Juneau experienced quite a weather dichotomy in May. The month began with mostly overcast, cool and rainy days, and was followed by warm and dry conditions for the second half of the month. May was a just a tenth of a degree warmer than normal at 48 degrees Fahrenheit. Daily highs and lows averaged 56 degrees and 40 degrees, respectively. The low for the month was 29 degrees, and occurred May 1. The high of 73 degrees was reported on May 25. Precipitation was 10 percent more than normal for the month at 3.87 inches. The 1.29 inches of precipitation that fell on the 16th set a new record for that date. There was a trace of frozen precipitation reported on May 13 that was due to a hailstorm in the area. Heating degree-days totaled 519 units, just 10 units less than normal for May. Winds averaged 6 mph at the airport, with a high gust of 36 mph on May 14.

Aside from the cooler weather during the last week of the month, temperatures in Fairbanks were close to normal in May. The average temperature for the month was 1.1 degree Fahrenheit above normal at 49.9 degrees Fahrenheit. The average daily high and low temperatures were 61 degrees and 39 degrees, respectively. The mercury reached 70 degrees on the afternoon of May 23 and the 31st. it got as a low as 26 degrees on May 1. The latter was accompanied by the record-setting late season snowfall on April 30 and two inches of snow were on the ground by May 1. This, or course, did not last long with the seasonable temperatures for much of the month. Heating degree-days totaled 459 units, about 45 less than normal for May. Precipitation occurred 12 days throughout the month, with six additional days reporting only trace amounts. The monthly precipitation total was half an inch, a mere tenth-of-an-inch below average.

Temperatures in Big Delta were seasonable for May, with an average temperature of 47.8 degrees Fahrenheit. This is less than a degree cooler than normal. The average high and low temperatures were 58 degrees and 38 degrees, respectively. The monthly high and low temperatures were 67 degrees Fahrenheit on May 24, and 26 degrees on the May 1. Heating degree-days were averaged 10 to 30 units per day for a monthly total of 535, which is normal for May. Precipitation was a little more than half the normal amount, with 0.41 inch. The highest daily amount came on May 22, with 0.27 inches.

Anchorage temperatures were right on track for May: highs of 55 degrees Fahrenheit, lows of 38 degrees, and a monthly mean of 46.7 degrees, all near normal for the month. On May 20, the high of 64 degrees was reported and on May 14, the low of 31 degrees was observed. Precipitation was slightly more than half the normal amount at 0.4 inches. Most of the month's precipitation came on May 24, with 0.31 inches. Heating degree-days were normal for May, with 558 units. The mean wind speed for the month was 8.5 mph.

Precipitation was relatively heavy in Barrow in May, with a liquid water equivalent total of 0.28 inches. This amount was more than twice the normal May total. Snowfall was 4.2 inches for the month, with 2.5 inches coming on May 27, and setting a record for the date. Also, the 27thwas 0.14 inches of water equivalent precipitation, which set a daily record as well. The seasonal snowpack at the airport held steady for the first two weeks of May at 23 inches. The snowpack began to melt during the latter half of the month, and only 5 inches were left by May 31. Temperatures averaged 22.4 degrees Fahrenheit for the month, which is 2.3 degrees warmer than normal. Highs averaged 26 degrees and lows averaged 18 degrees. The monthly high and low temperatures were 41 degrees and 4 degrees respectively. Heating degree-days were about 80 units less than normal for the month, with 1,314 units.

In May, temperatures were near normal in Nome, while precipitation was less than average. The average temperature was 36.4 degrees, only 0.3 degrees cooler than normal. Daily high and low temperatures were 43 degrees and 30 degrees, respectively. The monthly high and low temperatures were 59 degrees on May 31 and 2 degrees on the 1st. Heating degree-days were totaled 882 units, just a bit more than normal for May. Precipitation totaled 0.59 inches, 80 percent of normal. There were 1.8 inches of snowfall, slightly
less than normal for May. For the seasonal snowfall to date, Nome has received a total of 109.7 inches, which is 42 more inches than normal. This amount ranks as the third highest total on record behind the winters of 1994-1995, with 129.4 inches, and 2000-2001 that had 111 inches.

King Salmon had a record low temperature of 26 degrees Fahrenheit on May 20. Overall, the month was close to climatology, though. The monthly mean temperature was 42.6 degrees, just three-tenths of a degree cooler than normal. The average high and low temperatures were 51 degrees and 34 degrees respectively, slightly cooler than normal. The high for the month was 65 degrees on May 29 and the low for the month was 24 degrees on May 1. Heating degree-days totaled 687 units, 20 more units than normal for May. Precipitation was light 0.6 inches for the month, 45 percent of the normal monthly total. There were 1.3 inches of snow that came on May 2. For the season, the total amount of snow was just a few inches below normal at 43.6 inches. Winds were relatively strong, with a monthly average speed of 10 mph. On the 23rd, a maximum gust of 69 mph out of the southeast was reported.

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


On the Web:

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


E-mail your news & photos to

Publish A Letter on SitNews
        Read Letters/Opinions

Contact the Editor

SitNews ©2007
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska