SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Ketchikan Weather Visiting Anchorage This Summer



August 16, 2010

Ketchikan, Alaska - Here's a headline sure to elicit sympathy from all Ketchikanders:

"Anchorage Ties Record For Consecutive Rainy Days."

Okay, now, on the count of three.

jpg Dave Kiffer

One, Two, Three.waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

No really, we do feel for our northern cousins in Los Anchorage!

Especially given the severity of their suffering. As of August 13, 2010, they had had measurable precipitation for 27 straight days, tying a record from 1951.

Okay, I'll be the first to admit that 27 straight days of rain in the summer really bites the big one. No one wants to spend "the good season" togged in Gore-tex.

A few years ago, we had a summer from H-E-double-toothpicks in which there were only nine sunny days between Memorial Day and Labor Day and then there was 2008 in which we had 27 inches of rain in June-July-August. That was depressing. I feel Anchorage's pain.

But really it's hard to get all worked up over 27 days of rain. That isn't even a full month. Noah would have barely uncovered his cubit stick at that point.

Which of course begs the question, if we are mocking Anchorage's wet weather weenieness, just what is Ketchikan's consecutive rainfall record?

I don't know.

I once asked one of the Weather Gnomes at NOAA what the Ketchikan record was for most consecutive days of measureable precipitation. He snorted.

"I don't know" he said. "But you did have three consecutive days without precipitation in 1946."

I bet it's somewhere around two months of steady drizzle, but apparently no one is counting. It's like trying to determine consecutive smoggy days in Los Angeles. What difference does it make?

For my own amusement, I have been keeping track for the last decade or so. Every year we have a rain streak of more than a month and most years have 40+ day streaks. In 2005, we had a 47 day streak and no one built an ark.

Possibly because no one really knows how big a cubit is.

Also because no one wanted to have to round up two mosquitoes and two banana slugs.

As usual, I digress

Still, Anchorage is really, really concerned about this recent spate of bad weather.

The article from the Anchorage Daily News continues on.

"The summer has been one of the coldest, gloomiest and wettest on record for Southcentral Alaska because of a persistent low-pressure system that has been stagnant over the Bering Sea since early June, according to the (weather) service."

May I repeat. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

They don't seem to care that a persistent low pressure system has been stagnant over Ketchikan since 1883.

"Coldest" for Anchorage means that the average temp has been roughly two degrees below normal, or around 62 degrees. Not cold by Barrow standards, but certainly a little nippy in Muldoon.

"Gloomiest" is hard to quantify. I generally find Anchorage to be pretty gloomy place anyway. Its municipal logo features a "drive by shooting in a strip mall." If they say it is even more gloomy than normal by their standards, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

"Wettest?" Well, between June 1 and Aug. 11, Anchorage had 5.98 inches of rainfall, making it the sixth wettest summer on "record."

For comparisons sake, Ketchikan had 6.02 inches of rainfall.

On January 10.

Surprisingly enough we have had a pretty nice summer down here in Rain Country.

I can't give you accurate tallies of rainfall, heat index and the like because NOAA Gnomes have been apparently hit by sunstroke. Their website shows no readings for about half the days since May.

Apparently, they have spent more days at the beach than typing numbers on their computer screens.

But the partial returns show rainfall significantly below normal and the temps significantly up.

Two weeks into August alone shows an average daily high of nearly 70. My skin is peeling just thinking about it.

Alas, it won't hold. Eventually the rains and the chill and the gloom will return to us.

Unfortunately for Anchorage, even when the weather improves, it will still be Anchorage.


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Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
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