July 2013 Statewide Summary

 

 

Alaska Statewide Climate Summary

July 2013

 

Temperature

Temperatures started off the month below normal for the first ten days, then stayed above normal, often significantly, for the rest of the month. The mean temperature of all first order stations for June was 57.2°F, 1.7°F above the long-term mean of 55.5°F. Sixteen of the 20 First Order Stations reported positive deviations, with Southcentral and Arctic stations reporting the most extreme deviations from their expected temperatures. Barrow, Valdez and Kodiak topped the list with the same positive deviation of 3.5°F; following stations were: Gulkana (3.1°F) and Cold Bay (3.0°F). Below normal temperatures were reported for Bettles (-0.8°F), Nome (-0.6°F) and St. Paul Island (-0.2°F), while McGrath measured with 60.0°F exactly the long-term value. Anchorage had a total of 19 days in July had temperatures of 70°F or higher, tying the previous record set in 1977. In addition, there were 15 consecutive days with temperatures at least 70°F, breaking the old record of twelve days from 1953. Fairbanks saw nine days where the temperature hit at least 80°F, bringing the total to 30 days for the summer, and tying the record set in 2004.

 

Station

Temperature

Observed
(°F)

Normal
(°F)

Delta
(°F)

Anchorage

61.5

58.8

2.7

Annette

60.4

58.6

1.8

Barrow

44.4

40.9

3.5

Bethel

56.6

56.1

0.5

Bettles

58.9

59.7

-0.8

Cold Bay

53.9

50.9

3.0

Delta Junction

62.1

60.2

1.9

Fairbanks

64.3

62.5

1.8

Gulkana

60.7

57.6

3.1

Homer

56.5

54.6

1.9

Juneau

57.6

56.9

0.7

King Salmon

57.7

55.5

2.2

Kodiak

58.0

54.5

3.5

Kotzebue

56.5

54.6

1.9

McGrath

60.0

60.0

0.0

Nome

51.6

52.2

-0.6

St. Paul Island

47.0

47.2

-0.2

Talkeetna

62.1

60.1

2.0

Valdez

58.9

55.4

3.5

Yakutat

55.2

54.3

0.9

 

 

Description: First Order Temperature

Daily mean temperature deviation from the normal temperature for the mean of the 20 first order stations for July 2013.

 

July brought a fair number new daily record temperature events that reflected the overall trend for the month, with only four new record lows reported, and all during the first week of the month with two each at King Salmon and Bettles. Record high temperatures outnumbered lows more than five to one. King Salmon set two new lows at the beginning of the month then went on to set or match four record highs. The new daily record low of 31°F on the 5th is also a new monthly low for King Salmon for July.

 

 

 

Temperature Records

Date

Station

Element

New
Record

Old
Record

Year of
old Record

07/04/13

Bettles

Low Temperature

39

39

2001

07/04/13

King Salmon

Low Temperature

37

38

1981

07/05/13

King Salmon

Low Temperature

31

35

1981

07/06/13

Bettles

Low Temperature

40

40

1976

07/13/13

King Salmon

High Temperature

81

80

2003

07/13/13

Kotzebue

High Temperature

78

78

2009

07/16/13

Annette

High Temperature

84

80

1958

07/21/13

Valdez

High Temperature

82

72

1964

07/22/13

King Salmon

High Temperature

79

77

1980

07/22/13

St. Paul

High Temperature

64

61

1993

07/22/13

Valdez

High Temperature

77

73

2005

07/23/13

Homer

High Temperature

73

73

1955

07/24/13

Homer

High Temperature

72

70

1933

07/24/13

Kodiak

High Temperature

73

73

1982

07/24/13

St. Paul

High Temperature

62

61

2005

07/24/13

Valdez

High Temperature

77

76

2005

07/25/13

King Salmon

High Temperature

80

80

1953

07/25/13

St. Paul

High Temperature

59

58

2005

07/26/13

Bethel

High Temperature

80

79

1953

07/26/13

Homer

High Temperature

55

55

2004

07/26/13

King Salmon

High Temperature

82

79

1987

07/28/13

Delta Junction

High Temperature

85

83

1953

07/28/13

McGrath

High Temperature

85

83

1953

07/29/13

Bethel

High Temperature

75

75

1963

07/30/13

Gulkana

High Temperature

84

84

1953

07/31/13

McGrath

High Temperature

83

81

1972

 

 

Precipitation

July precipitation was lighter than normal with sixteen of the 20 stations reporting below average totals. The mean value of all 20 stations was calculated to 19% below normal. June's deviation has been similar at 14% below normal. Kodiak reported the greatest negative deviation with just 22% of the expected value. Rounding out the stations with less than half of normal totals were Fairbanks (47%) and Talkeetna (49%). The two the stations with heavier than normal precipitation were Barrow with 71% above normal, and Cold Bay (49%). Precipitation details are presented in the following table.

 

Station

Precipitation

Observed
(in)

Normal
(in)

Delta
(in)

Delta
(%)

(%)

Anchorage

1.10

1.83

-0.73

-40%

60%

Annette

3.60

4.65

-1.05

-23%

77%

Barrow

1.68

0.98

0.70

71%

171%

Bethel

2.29

2.36

-0.07

-3%

97%

Bettles

1.51

2.36

-0.85

-36%

64%

Cold Bay

3.70

2.48

1.22

49%

149%

Delta Junction

1.54

2.68

-1.14

-43%

57%

Fairbanks

1.01

2.16

-1.15

-53%

47%

Gulkana

1.23

1.81

-0.58

-32%

68%

Homer

0.86

1.55

-0.69

-45%

55%

Juneau

4.45

4.60

-0.15

-3%

97%

King Salmon

1.30

2.30

-1.00

-43%

57%

Kodiak

1.06

4.93

-3.87

-78%

22%

Kotzebue

1.28

1.45

-0.17

-12%

88%

McGrath

1.92

2.38

-0.46

-19%

81%

Nome

2.12

2.11

0.01

0%

100%

St. Paul Island

1.62

1.85

-0.23

-12%

88%

Talkeetna

1.66

3.39

-1.73

-51%

49%

Valdez

4.09

4.04

0.05

1%

101%

Yakutat

6.51

7.88

-1.37

-17%

83%

 

Description: First Order Precipitation

Daily mean precipitation deviation from the normal for the 20 first order stations for July 2013.

 

Like June, the nice weather in July resulted in a low number of precipitation records. Specifically, there were just three to report, and all in the first week of the month, correlating with the precipitation trend represented in the above figure. On the 2nd, Valdez received a total of 0.63", topping the 2005 record of 0.45". Barrow totaled 0.41" on the 3rd, breaking the 0.36" record set back in 1958. Finally, on the 7th, Yakutat got hit with 2.46", breaking the old record of 1.91" from 1998. Kodiak had the third driest July since 1948.

 

 

Description: 4gvf-7

This infrared satellite image from the National Weather Service from on Friday, July 25th, 2013 demonstrates the 'omega block' that set up over the eastern Bering Sea during the second half of the month affecting the Southcentral portions of Alaska with nice weather.

 

 

Newsworthy Events

One of the big weather related news item for July was the Stuart Creek 2 fire, located east of Fairbanks. This fire, started on June 25th on military training grounds, ended up the month at over 85,000 acres. The fire generated an evacuation watch on the 2nd for residents of portion of Chena Hot Springs Road as well as closure of recreation trains, campgrounds and cabins in the area. The fire quieted some on the 4th and 5th, with cooler weather and some light rain, but grew quickly on the 6th and 7th and prompted evacuation orders to be issued. The orders were lifted on the 8th. The fire was 71% contained at the end of the month, as far as it could be given that a portion of the fire is located in hazardous areas on military training grounds. In other fire related news, the Skinny Road fire west of Fairbanks was in mop-up mode by July 6th, but smoke could still occasionally be seen throughout the month. A number of other fires were fought across the state in July. There were 20 record fires just in Denali National Park at the start of the month. The Moon Lake fire complex near Tok and Tanacross was also actively fought by fire crews.

 

The summer weather thus far has been somewhat similar to 2004, with dry conditions and above normal temperatures. 2004 was the worst fire season (6.4 million acres burned) since good observations exist for Alaska (since 1955). Luckily, at the end of the month, we are only somewhat above the normal area burned (about 1 million acres) so far, however, August could add to this. Nevertheless, June and July are the two months where most of the acreage is burned, based on historical data. One possible reason for the dissimilar acreage burned, is the less than normal thunderstorm strikes for the temperature conditions that have been observed.

 

The fairly heavy rainfall (up to two inches) across the Interior on the 8th prompted flood warnings to be issued on small streams feeding the upper Chena, Chatanika and Salcha rivers. Anchorage Fire Department lifted the burn ban from June on July 2nd, but then reinstituted it on the 23rd in response to the warm, dry weather. The City of Kenai issued water restrictions at the end of the month due to low levels in the reservoir generated by the nice summer.

 

 

 

This information consists of preliminary climatological data compiled by the Alaska Climate Research Center, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks. This summary is based on the 20 first order stations in Alaska operated by the National Weather Service. Extreme events of other stations are also mentioned. It should be noted that the new climate normals for the time period of 1981-2010 are applied for the calculations of the deviations, and they can be slightly different from the old normals (1971-2000), which were in use up until end of July 2011.