April 2016 Statewide Summary

Alaska Statewide Climate Summary

April 2016

 

Temperature

 

April 2016 is the seventh month in a row with temperatures above normal. The monthly mean temperature of all First Order Stations was 38.3°F, a significant 7.8°F above the normal of 30.5°F. This is 4.9°F above the April 2015 mean of 33.4°F. Monthly mean temperatures (see table) were above normal for all 19 First Order Stations. Calculating the mean daily temperatures of the First Order Stations (see Figure), all 30 days of the month were above the 30-year normal. The peak positive deviation for the month, a remarkable 11.1°F, occurred on the 10th. On a monthly basis, Bethel held the greatest positive deviation from normal with an extreme value of 14.6°F above its long-term mean of 14.1°F. Stations following Bethel with deviations exceeding 9.0°F were Nome (13.8°F), Kotzebue (12.2°F), Fairbanks (9.9°F), Delta Junction (9.5°F), King Salmon (9.5°F) and McGrath (9.3°F).  Note that the three stations with the highest deviations are located in Alaska's western coastal area.

 

Station

Temperature

Observed
(°F)

Normal
(°F)

Delta
(°F)

Anchorage

43.5

36.8

6.7

Annette

45.6

44.2

1.4

Barrow

10.3

1.8

8.5

Bethel

41.5

26.9

14.6

Bettles

30.5

23.3

7.2

Cold Bay

39.9

34.0

5.9

Delta Junction

41.7

32.2

9.5

Fairbanks

42.4

32.5

9.9

Gulkana

39.2

31.8

7.4

Homer

43.0

37.0

6.0

Juneau

44.9

40.8

4.1

King Salmon

43.2

33.7

9.5

Kodiak

42.2

37.6

4.6

Kotzebue

25.5

13.3

12.2

McGrath

39.0

29.7

9.3

Nome

34.3

20.5

13.8

St. Paul Island

36.1

29.2

6.9

Talkeetna

42.4

35.9

6.5

Yakutat

42.5

37.8

4.7

 

 

The highest daily maximum temperature of the First Order Stations for April was 67°F reported at Fairbanks on the 25th of the month. Annette held the spot for the highest mean temperature for the month at 45.6°F. The lowest temperature was ‑22°F at Barrow on the 1st, and Barrow also reported the lowest April mean monthly temperature at 10.3°F.

 

 

Daily mean temperature deviation from the normal temperature for the mean of the first order stations for April 2015.

 

Once again in April, there were quite a number of daily temperature record events, and like the last four months, all were high events, either new records or tied events. Bethel reported nine new and two tied daily high records in April, which is itself quite an accomplishment. King Salmon and St. Paul each had ten record high events, while Juneau had eight.

 

 

 

Temperature Records

Date

Station

Element

New
Record

Old
Record

Year of
old Record

04/01/16

Anchorage

High Temperature

51

51

1995

04/01/16

Delta Junction

High Temperature

52

50

1994

04/01/16

Juneau

High Temperature

58

56

1958

04/01/16

Kenai

High Temperature

52

49

1983

04/01/16

Skagway

High Temperature

60

60

1962

04/02/16

King Salmon

High Temperature

51

50

1935

04/05/16

Delta Junction

High Temperature

51

50

1958

04/06/16

Cold Bay

High Temperature

46

46

1991

04/06/16

McGrath

High Temperature

51

51

2007

04/06/16

Northway

High Temperature

54

59

2012

04/07/16

Anchorage

High Temperature

53

50

2015

04/07/16

Annette

High Temperature

59

59

1990

04/07/16

Homer

High Temperature

52

51

1995

04/07/16

Kenai

High Temperature

51

50

2007

04/07/16

Sitka

High Temperature

56

55

2006

04/08/16

Anchorage

High Temperature

51

51

1990

04/08/16

King Salmon

High Temperature

51

50

1987

04/09/16

Bethel

High Temperature

50

49

2007

04/09/16

King Salmon

High Temperature

54

54

1940

04/09/16

St. Paul

High Temperature

43

41

1981

04/10/16

Delta Junction

High Temperature

54

54

1997

04/10/16

St. Paul

High Temperature

41

41

1981

04/12/16

Anchorage

High Temperature

55

52

1997

04/12/16

Bethel

High Temperature

52

52

1997

04/12/16

Nome

High Temperature

46

43

2004

04/13/16

Anchorage

High Temperature

53

51

2000

04/13/16

Bethel

High Temperature

54

54

1940

04/13/16

King Salmon

High Temperature

59

56

1990

04/14/16

Anchorage

High Temperature

54

51

1965

04/14/16

Bethel

High Temperature

55

53

1940

04/14/16

St. Paul

High Temperature

41

41

2003

04/15/16

King Salmon

High Temperature

58

58

1965

04/16/16

King Salmon

High Temperature

57

53

1996

04/17/16

King Salmon

High Temperature

55

55

1965

04/17/16

St. Paul

High Temperature

41

40

2014

04/18/16

Bethel

High Temperature

51

50

1926

04/18/16

Nome

High Temperature

44

43

2014

04/19/16

St. Paul

High Temperature

43

43

1978

04/20/16

Annette

High Temperature

66

63

2004

04/20/16

Cold Bay

High Temperature

42

42

1983

04/20/16

Kotzebue

High Temperature

42

42

1983

04/20/16

Nome

High Temperature

49

47

2014

04/21/16

Anchorage

High Temperature

58

55

2014

04/21/16

Bethel

High Temperature

58

55

1996

04/21/16

King Salmon

High Temperature

61

57

2014

04/21/16

Nome

High Temperature

50

45

1996

04/21/16

St. Paul

High Temperature

38

35

1967

04/21/16

Yakutat

High Temperature

64

62

1994

04/22/16

Anchorage

High Temperature

56

56

2014

04/22/16

Bethel

High Temperature

57

55

2014

04/22/16

Gustavus

High Temperature

58

56

2014

04/22/16

Homer

High Temperature

53

52

2014

04/22/16

King Salmon

High Temperature

57

56

2008

04/22/16

Sitka

High Temperature

64

62

1979

04/22/16

Sitka Observatory

High Temperature

60

57

2007

04/22/16

Skagway Power

High Temperature

64

64

2008

04/23/16

Bethel

High Temperature

62

60

1996

04/23/16

Fairbanks

High Temperature

66

66

1940

04/23/16

King Salmon

High Temperature

56

56

2014

04/24/16

Bethel

High Temperature

63

59

1938

04/24/16

Delta Junction

High Temperature

63

62

1994

04/24/16

McGrath

High Temperature

64

60

2007

04/24/16

St. Paul

High Temperature

46

43

1979

04/25/16

Bethel

High Temperature

59

56

1998

04/25/16

Cold Bay

High Temperature

53

49

1998

04/25/16

St. Paul

High Temperature

46

45

1979

04/26/16

McGrath

High Temperature

63

62

1958

04/26/16

Nome

High Temperature

52

52

1940

04/26/16

St. Paul

High Temperature

45

43

2004

04/27/16

St. Paul

High Temperature

38

37

1958

04/28/16

Bethel

High Temperature

60

58

1940

04/28/16

Nome

High Temperature

50

49

1953

 

The exceptional warmth of the month is also demonstrated in the number of new record high monthly mean temperatures, which are listed in the table below. St. Paul tied the monthly high for April with 36.1°F, originally set in 1979. Note that both Juneau and Sitka also set new monthly highs for March 2016.

 

Station

Monthly High Temperature Records

New
Record

Old
Record

Difference

Year of
old Record

Anchorage

43.5

40.7

2.8

2015

Bethel

41.5

39.8

1.7

1940

Delta Junction

41.7

40.3

1.4

1993

Gulkana

39.2

36.5

2.7

1980

Homer

42.9

41.9

1.0

2015

Juneau

44.9

44.4

0.5

1993

Kenai

42.3

40.5

1.8

1904

King Salmon

43.2

42.0

1.2

1940

Kotzebue

25.5

24.9

0.6

2004

McGrath

39.0

38.8

0.2

2007

Northway

39.4

37.5

1.9

1995

Sitka

46.9

46.0

0.9

1993

Skagway

45.3

45.1

0.2

1958

Talkeetna

42.4

40.7

1.7

1940

 

It was the second warmest April on record in Fairbanks with 42.4°F after the record of 43.7°F set in 1940. Nome also had its second warmest April (34.3°F) after the 35.6°F observed in 1940. Similar for Cold Bay (39.9°F) the temperature is second to 40.8°F set in 1979. Kodiak's record high of 44.1°F also from 1979 is 1.9°F warmer than this April. Ketchikan had its second warmest April with 47.3°F after the record of 48°F from 1940. Finally Dutch Harbor rounds out the stations with their second warmest April with 40.6°F, just under 40.7°F from 2003.

 

It was the third warmest April for Barrow and Cordova, and the fourth warmest for Yakutat. Haines and Bettles each had their fifth warmest Aprils on record.

 

Looking back at the first four months of 2016, many stations set record high average mean temperatures for first third of a calendar year. The table below delineates those stations.

 

Station

Jan-April High Mean Temperature Records

New
Record

Old
Record

Difference

Year of
old Record

Anchorage

33.5

31.8

1.7

1981

Barrow

-0.4

-3.6

3.2

2014

Bethel

26.5

23.9

2.6

1981

Cordova

38.2

37.5

0.7

1926

Haines Airport

38.1

37.3

0.8

1926

Homer

37.1

35.5

1.6

2015

Juneau

39.3

38.3

1.0

1977

Kenai

33.6

32.0

1.6

1981

Ketchikan

43.5

43.3

0.2

1988

King Salmon

35.8

30.6

5.2

1981

Kodiak

38.5

38.4

0.1

1981

Nome

20.5

18.9

1.6

2014

Northway

14.6

10.3

4.3

1981

Sitka

44.6

41.5

3.1

1981

Talkeetna

31.9

31.1

0.8

2003

 

 

Precipitation

 

April's precipitation was marginally higher than expected, with the overall precipitation calculated as 3% above normal; this calculation was based on the mean of the deviations in percentage of the First Order Stations. Ten of the First Order Stations and 15 days of the month reported above normal values. There were no days during the month without any measureable precipitation at all of the 19 First Order Stations. This is considerably drier than April 2015, which had a precipitation total of 28% above normal. The greatest daily deviation of 171% occurred on the 1st. The leading station with a greater than normal precipitation amount was Annette with 78% above normal. Homer and Juneau both had 76% above normal, while Anchorage was the relatively driest station at just 4% of normal precipitation observed. This is the third lowest precipitation for April in Anchorage on record, while it was the 5th highest April on record for Juneau.

 

Station

Precipitation

Observed
(in)

Normal
(in)

Delta
(in)

Delta
(%)

(%)

Anchorage

0.02

0.47

-0.45

-96%

4%

Annette

12.04

6.77

5.27

78%

178%

Barrow

0.07

0.16

-0.09

-56%

44%

Bethel

0.67

0.74

-0.07

-9%

91%

Bettles

0.43

0.60

-0.17

-28%

72%

Cold Bay

3.04

2.42

0.62

26%

126%

Delta Junction

0.13

0.23

-0.10

-43%

57%

Fairbanks

0.52

0.31

0.21

68%

168%

Gulkana

0.23

0.24

-0.01

-4%

96%

Homer

1.88

1.07

0.81

76%

176%

Juneau

5.16

2.94

2.22

76%

176%

King Salmon

0.85

0.97

-0.12

-12%

88%

Kodiak

8.90

5.81

3.09

53%

153%

Kotzebue

0.60

0.54

0.06

11%

111%

McGrath

0.42

0.74

-0.32

-43%

57%

Nome

0.80

0.76

0.04

5%

105%

St. Paul Island

1.20

1.08

0.12

11%

111%

Talkeetna

0.40

1.29

-0.89

-69%

31%

Yakutat

9.90

9.19

0.71

8%

108%

 

Daily mean precipitation deviation from the normal for the first order stations for April 2015.

 

 

The maximum monthly precipitation total reported for a First Order Station was 12.04" at Annette, and Annette also reported the highest daily total of 2.15" on the 17th. There were four new daily precipitation records of note: At Fairbanks on the 3rd, with 0.12" measured, breaking the old 1967 record of 0.09". Also on the 3rd Kotzebue observed 0.18", just topping the 0.17" from 1972. The total of 0.89" observed in Juneau on the 17th topped the 0.63" from 1983. Then on the 23rd the total of 1.34" measured in Kodiak broke the old record of 0.97" from 1940.

 

 

Snowfall

 

Like every month since November 2015, snowfall was light in April, with twelve of the 15 First Order Stations that measure snowfall reporting below normal amounts. Kotzebue (208%), Fairbanks (128%) and Bettles (111%) were the only stations reporting above normal amounts. Based on the mean of the deviations from all 15 stations, the overall deviation from the normals was 42% below the expected amount. Snowpack averaged about 33% of normal.

 

Station

Snowfall

Observed
(in)

Normal
(in)

Delta
(in)

Delta
(%)

(%)

Anchorage

0.0

4.0

-4.0

-100%

0%

Annette

0.0

1.4

-1.4

-100%

0%

Barrow

1.2

3.2

-2.0

-63%

38%

Bethel

0.4

5.7

-5.3

-93%

7%

Bettles

7.0

6.3

0.7

11%

111%

Cold Bay

0.7

6.6

-5.9

-89%

11%

Fairbanks

3.7

2.9

0.8

28%

128%

Juneau

0.0

1.1

-1.1

-100%

0%

King Salmon

0.0

3.9

-3.9

-100%

0%

Kodiak

0.0

8.0

-8.0

-100%

0%

Kotzebue

10.6

5.1

5.5

108%

208%

McGrath

1.6

5.1

-3.5

-69%

31%

Nome

6.1

7.5

-1.4

-19%

81%

St. Paul Island

0.9

5.7

-4.8

-84%

16%

Yakutat

0.0

10.2

-10.2

-100%

0%

 

 

Kotzebue reported the highest total snowfall for any First Order Station at 10.6" and Kotzebue also reported the highest one-day snowfall at 4.6" on the 3rd, a new daily record, breaking the previous record of 3.6" from 1972. One other daily snowfall record was set in Fairbanks also on the 3rd with 2.3", topping the old 1970 record of 1.4". The deepest snowpack was recorded at Kotzebue at 45" on the 4th.

 

Newsworthy Events

 

As an early breakup began across the Interior, members of the public were asked to stop using Interior logging roads at the start of the month. The public was also warned about unsafe ice conditions on Interior rivers. On the 4th hazardous driving conditions were reported on the Dalton Highway for blowing snow, poor visibility and high winds, and similar conditions were reported two and three days later also for the Dalton Highway. On the 7th a small wildfire was fought at McHugh Creek above Seward Highway.

 

On the 8th the Denali Park Road was opened to mile 30, the earliest opening since 2010, due to the early snowmelt. Poor visibility also forced the Arctic Man race to call off races on the 8th. The same day geese were spotted at Clearwater Lake near Delta Junction, and then two days later geese and swans were reported at Creamers Field in Fairbanks.

 

The Taylor Highway was opened to Eagle on the 11th, however the Top of the World Highway towards Canada remained closed. The same day hazardous conditions due to blowing snow the Dalton Highway were reported. Similar conditions were reported along portions of the Dalton Highway over the next four days. The second brown bear of the year in the Fairbanks area was spotted awake in on the 13th. Fish and Game has reported the bears are awake early this spring due to the warm conditions. On the 17th firefighters were fighting a small wildfire near Palmer that was discovered the day before. It was described as nearly contained on the 19th. Also on the 19th, driving conditions on portions of the Dalton Highway again deteriorated to hazardous due to blowing snow. Similar conditions persisted for the next three days.

 

Break up began on the middle Kuskokwim River on the 20th, earliest on record. The ice went out on the Tanana River at Nenana on the 23rd, according to the Nenana Ice Classic. This is the second earliest end to the annual guessing game in 100 years. The earliest is April 20th.

 

Avalanche reduction was performed between mileposts 241 to 247 of the Dalton Highway on the 26th. The same day the ice on the Yukon River broke up at Eagle, the earliest on record. This resulted in an ice jam downstream, and flood advisories were issued in Eagle as a result. Flooding into roads, and yards was reported at Eagle on the 28th. The water level started dropping the next day as the ice jam broke up.

 

The Steese highway was closed for part of the 28th at mile 138 due to water across the road. The Yukon River broke up at Circle on the 29th, while the Koyukuk River broke up at Bettles the next day. Water was reported flowing over the Dalton Highway at mile 57 on the 30th.

 

 

This information consists of preliminary climatological data compiled by the Alaska Climate Research Center, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks. For more information on weather and climatology, contact the center at 907-474-7885 or visit the center web site at http://akclimate.org. Please report any errors to webmaster@akclimate.org. This summary is based on the 19 first order stations in Alaska operated by the National Weather Service. Extreme events of other stations are also mentioned.