Statewide October 2013

Alaska Statewide Climate Summary

October 2013

 

Temperature

 

October temperatures were decidedly above normal both across the state, and throughout the month with all 20 First Order Stations reporting positive deviations. The only day with a negative divergence occurred on the first. After that, temperatures stayed above normal, with the peak deviation (15.5°F) coinciding with the storm impacting the Southcentral and Interior regions on the 28th. This is an astounding departure for an area as large as the State of Alaska. The monthly mean temperature for all 20 First Order Stations was 39.8°F, a very significant 7.4°F above the normal of 32.4°F. McGrath held the highest positive deviation from normal at an amazing 13.6°F over its long-term mean of 25.1°F. Following McGrath with positive deviations exceeding 10°F were: Delta Junction (13.1°F), Bettles (12.4°F), Fairbanks (11.9°F), Gulkana (11.0°F), Kotzebue (10.2°F). It is worth noting that most of these stations were located in the Interior of Alaska.

 

The warmest temperature reported for the 20 First Order Stations was 62°F at Delta Junction on the 28th, a result of the Chinook winds from the storm impacting the Southcentral area. The coldest temperature was -2°F at Barrow on the 31st. Annette reported the highest mean temperature for the month at 48.2°F, while Barrow reported the coldest at 24.7°F.

 

 

Station

Temperature

Observed
(°F)

Normal
(°F)

Delta
(°F)

Anchorage

43.0

34.8

8.2

Annette

48.2

46.7

1.5

Barrow

24.7

17.2

7.5

Bethel

38.2

30.3

7.9

Bettles

31.3

18.9

12.4

Cold Bay

46.0

40.4

5.6

Delta Junction

37.2

24.1

13.1

Fairbanks

36.1

24.2

11.9

Gulkana

37.6

26.6

11.0

Homer

46.2

38.1

8.1

Juneau

44.7

42.4

2.3

King Salmon

42.9

33.5

9.4

Kodiak

44.4

40.5

3.9

Kotzebue

34.5

24.3

10.2

McGrath

38.7

25.1

13.6

Nome

35.6

28.7

6.9

St. Paul Island

40.7

38.6

2.1

Talkeetna

39.1

33.2

5.9

Valdez

42.3

38.4

3.9

Yakutat

44.3

41.0

3.3

 

 


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

 

A very large number of record temperature events were reported for October, and unsurprisingly, all were new record highs, with no new lows noted. There were two timeframes where most were set: from the 15th to the 20th and the 25th to the 29th. Delta Junction had a total of five new records set, and one record tied. Both Homer and Bettles had five events each. Three of the records broken had been in place since 1936. Delta Junction's new record of 62°F on the 28th shattered the old record from 1962 by an amazing 19°F. This huge jump was the product of the Chinook Winds as previously noted.

 

It was the warmest October on record for Anchorage (43.0°F) breaking the 42.1°F mean from way back in 1936. Cold Bay also had the warmest October on record at 46.0°F, breaking the 2002 record of 44.0°F. Similar for McGrath with 38.7°, breaking the 2006 mean of 35.0°F. Also, there was a new record at Delta Junction, with 37.2°F, 2.1°F above the 1969 mean. It was the third warmest for Fairbanks in 109 years. The lowest temperature of the month for Fairbanks was 16°F, and this ties 2002 for the warmest low temperature for the month.

 

 

 

Temperature Records

Date

Station

Element

New
Record

Old
Record

Year of
old Record

10/07/13

Cold Bay

High Temperature

60

58

1985

10/15/13

Cold Bay

High Temperature

59

54

2003

10/15/13

Kodiak

High Temperature

56

55

1984

10/16/13

Delta Junction

High Temperature

58

55

1972

10/16/13

McGrath

High Temperature

52

52

1972

10/16/13

Northway

High Temperature

53

49

1948

10/16/13

Tanana Airport

High Temperature

49

47

1969

10/17/13

Bettles

High Temperature

44

40

1969

10/17/13

Delta Junction

High Temperature

60

60

1969

10/17/13

Homer

High Temperature

54

53

1957

10/17/13

Kotzebue

High Temperature

43

41

1969

10/17/13

Tanana Airport

High Temperature

48

40

1987

10/18/13

Barrow

High Temperature

35

35

1982

10/18/13

Bettles

High Temperature

44

38

1969

10/18/13

Delta Junction

High Temperature

53

51

1969

10/18/13

King Salmon

High Temperature

53

53

2004

10/18/13

Kotzebue

High Temperature

41

40

1982

10/18/13

Northway

High Temperature

44

44

1976

10/19/13

Bettles

High Temperature

43

39

1951

10/19/13

Delta Junction

High Temperature

56

50

1957

10/20/13

Bettles

High Temperature

42

38

1980

10/20/13

Delta Junction

High Temperature

50

49

2002

10/20/13

Northway

High Temperature

45

44

1957

10/25/13

Homer

High Temperature

50

49

1936

10/25/13

King Salmon

High Temperature

51

50

2002

10/26/13

Homer

High Temperature

52

51

2004

10/26/13

King Salmon

High Temperature

50

49

2004

10/27/13

Bettles

High Temperature

35

32

1951

10/27/13

Homer

High Temperature

57

51

1942

10/27/13

King Salmon

High Temperature

52

50

1957

10/27/13

Kodiak

High Temperature

55

54

1936

10/27/13

Kotzebue

High Temperature

39

37

1972

10/27/13

McGrath

High Temperature

43

43

1972

10/27/13

Valdez

High Temperature

50

47

1977

10/28/13

Anchorage

High Temperature

52

49

1959

10/28/13

Delta Junction

High Temperature

62

43

1962

10/28/13

Fairbanks

High Temperature

51

44

1959

10/28/13

Homer

High Temperature

57

51

1936

10/28/13

McGrath

High Temperature

44

40

1946

10/29/13

Valdez

High Temperature

47

47

2004

 

 

Precipitation

 

Precipitation for October was significantly above normal for the state, at 159% of normal. Sixteen of the 20 stations reported above normal values, while just four stations reported values below normal; mostly Interior stations. These are, in ascending order, Delta Junction with 38% of the expected value, Annette (63%), Gulkana (70%), and Fairbanks (71%).

 

McGrath had the greatest positive deviation from normal, with 4.64", or 222% above the expected amount of 1.44". Following McGrath was Talkeetna (196%), Bettles (191%), Bethel (156%), King Salmon (123%), Nome (120%) and Valdez (116%). Unsurprisingly, all of the 16 stations that report snowfall, reported below normal values for October. Fairbanks had the 4th least snowiest month on record. Despite this, Barrow recorded trace or more amounts of snow on 28 days of the month.

 

 

Station

Precipitation

Observed
(in)

Normal
(in)

Delta
(in)

Delta
(%)

(%)

Anchorage

3.22

2.03

1.19

59%

159%

Annette

8.70

13.92

-5.22

-38%

63%

Barrow

0.67

0.41

0.26

63%

163%

Bethel

4.22

1.65

2.57

156%

256%

Bettles

3.03

1.04

1.99

191%

291%

Cold Bay

5.79

4.76

1.03

22%

122%

Delta Junction

0.30

0.80

-0.50

-63%

38%

Fairbanks

0.59

0.83

-0.24

-29%

71%

Gulkana

0.71

1.01

-0.30

-30%

70%

Homer

4.29

2.57

1.72

67%

167%

Juneau

10.19

8.63

1.56

18%

118%

King Salmon

4.63

2.08

2.55

123%

223%

Kodiak

9.96

8.26

1.70

21%

121%

Kotzebue

1.61

1.01

0.60

59%

159%

McGrath

4.64

1.44

3.20

222%

322%

Nome

3.55

1.61

1.94

120%

220%

St. Paul Island

3.54

3.11

0.43

14%

114%

Talkeetna

8.57

2.90

5.67

196%

296%

Valdez

17.83

8.24

9.59

116%

216%

Yakutat

23.87

21.98

1.89

9%

109%

 

 

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

 

 

Numerous daily record precipitation events were set for October, occurring throughout the month, but most were set on the 27th-28th; a product of the storm slamming into the Southcentral region. It was the wettest October on record in Valdez with a total of 17.83", just topping the 2006 record of 17.31".

 

 

 

Precipitation Records

Date

Station

Element

New
Record

Old
Record

Year of
old Record

10/08/13

Valdez

Precipitation

1.81

0.71

1979

10/11/13

Kotzebue

Precipitation

0.21

0.20

1996

10/15/13

Bethel

Precipitation

0.55

0.54

1971

10/16/13

McGrath

Precipitation

0.92

0.91

1971

10/17/13

Bettles

Precipitation

0.35

0.52

1973

10/17/13

King Salmon

Precipitation

0.72

0.59

1986

10/17/13

McGrath

Precipitation

1.02

0.32

2005

10/20/13

Barrow

Precipitation

0.23

0.11

2010

10/25/13

Yakutat

Precipitation

2.98

1.91

1992

10/27/13

Kenai

Precipitation

1.13

0.76

1962

10/28/13

Anchorage

Precipitation

0.94

0.69

1962

10/28/13

Bethel

Precipitation

0.43

0.35

1996

10/28/13

Bettles

Precipitation

0.56

0.52

1970

10/28/13

Kenai

Precipitation

1.44

0.68

1948

10/28/13

Nenana

Precipitation

0.19

0.18

1996

10/28/13

Talkeetna

Precipitation

1.90

0.98

1946

10/28/13

Valdez

Precipitation

1.92

1.05

1983

 

 

Description: 4gvf 2

This infrared satellite image from the National Weather Service shows storm system affecting the Southcentral and Interior portions of Alaska on October 28th, 2013. The storm drove record high temperatures, rainfall and localized flooding across the region.

 

 

Newsworthy Events

 

The month started out with high wind warnings for Southcentral and the Interior on the 6th. The winds caused power outages in parts of Anchorage and pushed into the Interior with winds up to 80 mph in the Alaska Range. The Denali Highway was closed do to heavy snow on the 9th, but minimal effort was put into clearing it as the highway was closed for the winter on the 13th.  High winds were again warned for portions of the Interior close the Alaska Range on the 27th, while an unseasonably late rainfall made driving in the Fairbanks area treacherous. In addition, storm warnings for high winds, and flood warnings/watches were issued for the Southcentral region on the 27th. In the storms aftermath Amber Lake totaled 3.04" on the 28th, while Bear Valley saw winds up to 106 mph and the Anchorage Airport measured 40 mph. Up to 60 mph gusts were measured at Tanacross in the Interior, and over 60 mph at Delta Junction. Disaster declarations were issued for the Seward and Central Peninsula areas due to localized flooding. For Fairbanks, the precipitation resulted in more hazardous driving conditions due to ice on the roads. The storm impacted driving on the Elliott, Dalton, and Alaska Highways.

 

The unseasonably warm weather and high winds, especially in the Interior, resulted in the reemergence of the Mississippi Fire near Delta Junction on the 30th. The fire had originally started in May had had been smoldering. Fire fighters were dispatched to the fire, and this is the latest date of the year that anyone at the Fire Service could remember actively fighting a wildfire. A last minute snowfall on the 31st made sure that it was a "white Halloween" in Fairbanks. Only in 1938 did Fairbanks have a "brown Halloween" with no snow on the ground. For Fairbanks, the late onset of winter was paired with a late start to spring back in May.

 

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 August 2011.