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Alaska/Western Canada obs and discussion


patrick7032
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  • 2 years later...
18 minutes ago, lookingnorth said:

Anchorage, AK set their all-time record high of 89°F yesterday, and looks to get into the mid-80s for the next few days as well. Most of Alaska has been a good bit warmer than normal so far this summer.

Per NWS Anchorage, I think the official site (Ted Stevens airport) hit 90. Previous all time record high was 85...and, on average, Anchorage only hits 80 once every 4 years. 

This is crazy. 

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On 7/5/2019 at 11:02 AM, lookingnorth said:

Anchorage, AK set their all-time record high of 89°F yesterday, and looks to get into the mid-80s for the next few days as well. Most of Alaska has been a good bit warmer than normal so far this summer.

We were in Alaska in late May and it hit mid 70s every day essentially, and was bone dry. They were terrified of fires and they've already had many. Will be a long, rough summer for the NW which is incredibly dry and hot. 

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  • 1 year later...

An already impressive winter in interior Alaska is going out with a bang, with snow and cold.  2-day snowfall of 13.2" on April 3-4 in Fairbanks, which brought the snow depth to 40".  This is the highest snow depth since 1993.  Snow depth on 4/7/2021 was still 38", 2nd highest so late in the season (only 1991 was greater).  Could be a bad year for flooding and river ice break-up.

Fairbanks just set a new record for consecutive days under 40F:

(1) 179 days:  10/11/2020 to 4/7/2021 - still active

(2) 176 days:  10/3/1965 to 3/27/1966

(3) 171 days:  10/8/1994 to 3/27/1995 

With clear skies and fresh snow cover, Fairbanks dropped to -24 on 4/6/2021, which is the 3rd coldest temp on record so late in the season (-24 on 4/7/1986 and -32 on 4/10/1911).  It was even colder at some other sites:  -36 at Jim River DOT (Mile 138 Dalton Highway); -34 Norutak Lake RAWS; -33 Bettles.

There is an even colder airmass lurking for this upcoming weekend, where Fairbanks could hit -25 or -30.  Normal temps for this weekend are 40/16.  Per Rick Thoman:  "By several measures, the Utqiaġvik 00Z Thu RAOB records the coldest April low-level airmass on record (since 1948). Lowest 850mb temp -35.5C; lowest 1000-850mb thickness 1138 gpm; lowest 1000-500mb thickness 4803 gpm."

http://ak-wx.blogspot.com/2021/04/even-colder-on-way.html

http://ak-wx.blogspot.com/2021/04/extreme-cold-approaches.html

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Bettles reported a 6am AKDT temperature of -38F (-38.9C). This is a new record for Bettles for the month of April. Previous record was -37F (-38.3C) set April 7, 1986. Climate observations at Bettles since May 1944.

As expected, the Fairbanks 12Z upper air sounding showed the coldest April low-level airmass on record (since 1948): lowest 1000-500mb thickness 4857gpm; lowest 1000-850mb thickness 1174gpm; lowest 925mb temp -26.7C.

Nome airport low temp Friday morning of (at least) -20F (-28.9C) is not a daily record (-24F, -31.1C in 1924) but this is the latest in the spring with a temp of -20F or lower in 44 years: -21F on April 12, 1977.

http://ak-wx.blogspot.com/2021/04/arctic-blast.html

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RECORD EVENT REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FAIRBANKS AK
159 AM AKDT SAT APR 10 2021

...RECORD LOW MINIMUM AND MAXIMUM TEMPERATURES SET AT FAIRBANKS
YESTERDAY...

FAIRBANKS RECORDED A LOW TEMPERATURE OF -27 DEGREES YESTERDAY.
THIS SHATTERS THE PREVIOUS DAILY RECORD OF -16 DEGREES SET IN
1911.
THE HIGH TEMPERATURE YESTERDAY WAS ONLY 3 DEGREES. THAT BREAKS
THE PREVIOUS DAILY RECORD FOR COLDEST HIGH TEMPERATURE OF 11
DEGREES SET IN 1911. YESTERDAY WAS ALSO THE LATEST IN THE SEASON
FOR A HIGH TEMPERATURE IN THE SINGLE DIGITS FOR FAIRBANKS ON
RECORD. THE PREVIOUS LATEST WAS APRIL 7TH IN 1966.

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  • 9 months later...
  • 2 years later...

Another nice winter in southern Alaska.  Anchorage just had their 2nd snowiest winter on record (132.6").  Average is 77", and the record is 134.5" set in 2011-12.

Even more impressive is the snow depth days (SDDs) and # of days with snow cover.  I'm not sure what those records are for Anchorage, but the final 2023-24 numbers have got to be close...and possibly brand new records:

- 3,965 SDDs (the record snow season of 2011-12 had 3,807 SDDs)

- 174 days of 1+" snow cover, including 172 consecutive days

- 170 days of 6+" snow cover...more than 5.5 months!

- 152 days of 12"+ snow cover

- Peak snow depth of 38" on 2/5 (record snow depth is 47" on 1/1/1956)

- Still 20" snow depth on 4/14, and 10" on 4/21

Warmer temps are on tap, which should allow for a quick snowmelt.  Normals for April 15th are still fairly chilly (45/30), but high temps will probably soar well into the 50s later this week. 

*Edit #1: First 50F of the season on 4/20; the first 50F temp in Anchorage since 10/2/23 (201 days ago)

*Edit #2: Updated stats through 4/24/24

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On 4/16/2024 at 10:37 AM, beavis1729 said:

Another nice winter in southern Alaska.  Assuming no more snowfall, Anchorage will finish with their 2nd snowiest winter on record (132.6").  Average is 77", and the record is 134.5" set in 2011-12.

Even more impressive is the snow depth days (SDDs) and # of days with snow cover.  I'm not sure what those records are for Anchorage, but the 2023-24 numbers through 4/15 have got to be close...and possibly brand new records:

- 3,871 SDDs

- 163 days of 1+" snow cover, including 162 consecutive days

- 162 days of 6+" snow cover

- 148 days of 12"+ snow cover (nearly 5 months)...the most impressive stat of all

- Peak snow depth of 38" on 2/5 (record snow depth is 47" on 1/1/1956)

- Still 18" of snow cover on 4/15

Looks like warmer temps are on tap, which will allow for a quick snowmelt.  Normals for April 15th are still fairly chilly (45/30), but high temps will probably soar well into the 50s later this week.

Nice. Our average snowfall here just south of Denver is only about 20 inches less, but the longevity is 10x shorter. Trees are in full bloom already, probably 2 weeks earlier than typical. Most people have cut their lawns once.

I've never heard of SDDs, I kind of like it! Is that a metric that's used elsewhere?

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On 4/17/2024 at 3:21 PM, mayjawintastawm said:

Nice. Our average snowfall here just south of Denver is only about 20 inches less, but the longevity is 10x shorter. Trees are in full bloom already, probably 2 weeks earlier than typical. Most people have cut their lawns once.

I've never heard of SDDs, I kind of like it! Is that a metric that's used elsewhere?

Yeah, I've seen SDDs mentioned fairly often, but mainly in places where there's a reliable snow cover each year.  I like it because it brings a lot of important variables together (temperature, cloudiness, snowfall, frequency of thaws) and is a great way to capture the overall tenor of a winter.  If one cares about living in a wintry place, it's probably the best/simplest metric to compare winters from one locale to another.  

Simply using snowfall as a winter metric can be very misleading.  I'd much prefer a frontloaded winter with 40" of snow and a -10F temp departure, vs. a winter with 60" of snow and a +5 temp departure. The former would have a lot more SDDs.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Traveling to Alaska via a cruise from Seattle from May 18 to 28, specifically Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan. I've started looking at NWS Juneau for weather information and reading their AFD, but I'm curious if there are any decent websites that have satellite imagery or numerical model data as the vacation nears?

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