August 2016 Statewide Summary

Alaska Statewide Climate Summary

August 2016

 

Temperature

 

August 2016 marks the eleventh month in a row with temperatures above normal. The monthly mean temperature of all First Order Stations was 57.2°F, a significant 3.9°F above the normal of 53.3°F. This is 0.1°F below the August 2015 mean of 53.4°F. Monthly mean temperatures (see table) were above normal for all 19 of the First Order Stations. Calculating the mean daily temperatures of the First Order Stations, all 31 days of the month were above the 30-year normal (see Figure). The peak positive deviation for the month occurred on the 28th at 7.6°F. Kotzebue had the greatest positive deviation of 5.3°F above its normal of 51.7°F. The only other station with a deviation greater than or equal to 5.0°F was Fairbanks with 5.0°F.

 

Station

Temperature

Observed
(°F)

Normal
(°F)

Delta
(°F)

Anchorage

60.5

56.7

3.8

Annette

63.6

58.9

4.7

Barrow

39.7

39.0

0.7

Bethel

58.1

53.5

4.6

Bettles

56.0

52.5

3.5

Cold Bay

56.5

52.1

4.4

Delta Junction

59.0

54.8

4.2

Fairbanks

61.1

56.1

5.0

Gulkana

56.6

53.5

3.1

Homer

58.3

53.9

4.4

Juneau

58.5

55.9

2.6

King Salmon

59.5

54.6

4.9

Kodiak

58.9

55.2

3.7

Kotzebue

57.0

51.7

5.3

McGrath

59.2

54.6

4.6

Nome

53.6

50.1

3.5

St. Paul Island

52.9

48.8

4.1

Talkeetna

59.5

56.7

2.8

Yakutat

57.7

53.8

3.9

 

 

The highest daily maximum temperature of the First Order Stations for August was 81°F reported at Annette on the 6th and 7th. Annette also held the spot for the highest mean temperature for the month at 63.6°F. The lowest temperature of 25°F was observed at Gulkana on the 31st. Barrow reported the lowest August mean monthly temperature with a value of 39.7°F.

 

 

Daily mean temperature deviation from the normal temperature for the mean of the First Order Stations for August 2016.

 

There were a fair number of daily temperature record events and all were high events, except for a tied low at St. Paul on the 2nd. Most of the events occurred towards the end of the month during the very nice weather across much of the state. St. Paul had six high events, while Anchorage had five events in a row at the end of the month, and Kodiak had four events. At Anchorage, the high of 75°F on the 28th marked the latest day of the year this temperature has ever been reached. Then the low of 46°F at Anchorage on the 31st is the first time that temperature had dropped below 50°F in 79 days, a record length. The record high of 64°F at Barrow on the 27th was not only a daily high, but also a record for the warmest temperature so late in the summer.

 

 

 

Temperature Records

Date

Station

Element

New
Record

Old
Record

Year of
old Record

08/02/16

St. Paul

Low Temperature

37

37

1971

08/05/16

St. Paul

High Temperature

57

57

2013

08/06/16

Annette

High Temperature

81

78

1942

08/07/16

St. Paul

High Temperature

60

60

1969

08/11/16

St. Paul

High Temperature

58

58

2011

08/12/16

St. Paul

High Temperature

58

58

2011

08/17/16

Cold Bay

High Temperature

66

65

2004

08/25/16

Annette

High Temperature

79

79

1987

08/27/16

Anchorage

High Temperature

73

69

1993

08/27/16

Barrow

High Temperature

64

63

1929

08/27/16

Juneau

High Temperature

76

75

1941

08/27/16

King Salmon

High Temperature

76

76

1987

08/27/16

Kodiak

High Temperature

73

72

1937

08/27/16

Yakutat

High Temperature

78

73

1985

08/28/16

Anchorage

High Temperature

77

70

1974

08/28/16

Cold Bay

High Temperature

64

63

1962

08/28/16

Kodiak

High Temperature

74

73

1942

08/28/16

Yakutat

High Temperature

77

73

1930

08/29/16

Anchorage

High Temperature

72

70

2007

08/29/16

Kodiak

High Temperature

78

70

2007

08/29/16

St. Paul

High Temperature

59

57

1993

08/30/16

Anchorage

High Temperature

74

73

1974

08/30/16

Bethel

High Temperature

72

68

1923

08/30/16

King Salmon

High Temperature

74

68

1942

08/30/16

Kotzebue

High Temperature

69

67

1941

08/30/16

Nome

High Temperature

67

64

1970

08/30/16

St. Paul

High Temperature

58

57

2014

08/30/16

Yakutat

High Temperature

72

71

1963

08/31/16

Anchorage

High Temperature

71

71

1963

08/31/16

Bethel

High Temperature

72

70

1926

08/31/16

King Salmon

High Temperature

77

74

1942

08/31/16

Kodiak

High Temperature

73

71

1990

08/31/16

McGrath

High Temperature

73

70

1978

08/31/16

Nome

High Temperature

72

66

1978

 

It was the warmest August on record for Homer with 58.3°F, 0.3°F above the old 2014 record. St. Paul topped its old August record from 2014 of 52.7°F with 52.9°F. The same applies to Cold Bay with 56.5°F breaking the 2014 record of 56.4°F. King Salmon also had its warmest August with 59.5°F, 0.7° above the old record from 2004. For all four of these stations, August 2016 was the warmest month, for any month of the year. It was also the warmest August on record for Kodiak with 58.9°F, just topping the 1944 record of 58.7°F. Yakutat also had its warmest August with 57.7°F, 0.7°F above the old record from 1997. Finally, Annette topped its old record for August of 62.8°F from 1977 with 63.6°F.

 

This August was the second warmest for Anchorage with 0.7°F below the 2004 record of 61.5°F. Kenai was just 0.1°F below the record set in 2004 with 57.9°F. It was the third warmest August on record for Fairbanks, McGrath, and Bethel, while it was the fourth warmest for Juneau, Ketchikan, and Talkeetna. It was the fifth warmest for Kotzebue.

 

 

Precipitation

 

August's precipitation was close to normal, with the overall precipitation calculated as 1% below the average; this calculation was based on the mean of the deviations in percentage of the First Order Stations. Twelve of the First Order Stations and 18 days of the month reported below normal values. There were no days during the month without any measureable precipitation at all of the 19 First Order Stations, although the 31st came close with just 0.05" reported at Annette. This is drier than August 2015, which reported a positive deviation of 7%. The greatest daily deviation of 115% occurred on the 21st. The leading station with a greater than normal monthly precipitation amount was Anchorage with 168% of normal. St. Paul Island was the relatively driest station at just 45% of normal precipitation observed. This is the fourth wettest August on record for Anchorage and Kenai.

 

Station

Precipitation

Observed
(in)

Normal
(in)

Delta
(in)

Delta
(%)

(%)

Anchorage

5.45

3.25

2.20

68%

168%

Annette

3.12

6.96

-3.84

-55%

45%

Barrow

0.84

1.05

-0.21

-20%

80%

Bethel

3.29

3.25

0.04

1%

101%

Bettles

2.86

2.64

0.22

8%

108%

Cold Bay

3.15

3.68

-0.53

-14%

86%

Delta Junction

1.07

1.89

-0.82

-43%

57%

Fairbanks

1.56

1.88

-0.32

-17%

83%

Gulkana

1.12

1.80

-0.68

-38%

62%

Homer

3.21

2.34

0.87

37%

137%

Juneau

5.97

5.73

0.24

4%

104%

King Salmon

4.84

2.95

1.89

64%

164%

Kodiak

3.28

4.56

-1.28

-28%

72%

Kotzebue

1.92

2.18

-0.26

-12%

88%

McGrath

3.77

2.80

0.97

35%

135%

Nome

3.03

3.22

-0.19

-6%

94%

St. Paul Island

2.98

3.07

-0.09

-3%

97%

Talkeetna

5.02

5.11

-0.09

-2%

98%

Yakutat

13.31

14.07

-0.76

-5%

95%

 

Daily mean precipitation deviation from the normal for the First Order Stations for August 2016.

 

 

August's highest monthly precipitation total reported for a First Order Station was 13.31" at Yakutat, and Yakutat also reported the highest daily total of 1.70" on the 25th.

 

The table below lists the limited number of daily precipitation records set in August. Barrow set a snowfall record on the 19th.

 

 

Precipitation Records

Date

Station

Element

New
Record

Old
Record

Year of
old Record

08/08/16

Anchorage

Precipitation

1.06

0.79

1971

08/10/16

Bettles

Precipitation

0.89

0.36

1956

08/19/16

Barrow

Snowfall

1.6

1.4

1971

08/20/16

McGrath

Precipitation

0.65

0.63

1973

08/22/16

Anchorage

Precipitation

1.02

0.60

1953

 

 

 

Newsworthy Events

 

The heavy rain generated a mudslide, which closed the Denali Park Road at mile 67 on July 30th. It was cleared enough to partially reopen on August 1st. The road did not fully re-open until the 9th. Barrow experienced its first sunset on August 1st. The localized flooding that has afflicted areas near Fairbanks continued into August, while flooding across the Chena Hot Springs Road was reported at mile 36 on the 1st. Flood advisories were issued for streams and rivers in the Fairbanks and White Mountains areas due to the heavy rain in the area on the 1st, and these advisories were extended until the 3rd. The Tanana River crested at Fairbanks on the 1st.

 

The Moose Creek Dam near Fairbanks, which had restarted operations on July 30th, ceased operations again on the 8th. Water levels receded slowly as the lake created behind the dam was drained into the Chena River. The river crested at Fairbanks on the 2nd at 10,200 cubic feet per second and 9.54 feet. For the summer, the dam conducted operations two different times for a total of 15 days. The closures created a lake three miles long and up 21 feet deep. This is the most days in a summer for dam operations after the record for operations set in 1992.

 

The Tanana River again approached bankfull at Fairbanks on the 9th. Warnings for possible flooding for low-lying areas were issued. Limited flooding along local roads was reported in Anchorage on the 9th due to record rainfall. The heavy rainfall in the Southcentral area resulted in minor flooding along the Yentna River also on the 9th, and continued for a couple days. The Taiya River crested at above flood stage on the 14th, but continued at above flood stage the next day. Flood watches were issued for areas north of the western Brooks Range on the 19th until the 22nd after heave rains impacted the area, flooding areas along the Kelly River and Aggie Creek.

 

The Fairbanks River Regatta, delayed since July due to high water on the Chena River, was held on the 12th. Similarly, the Rubber Ducky Race, also delayed from July, was finally held on the 21st. Flooding was again reported on Chena Hot Springs Road on the 21st. Flood advisories were issued for streams and rivers around Seward on the 22nd due to more than one inch of rainfall in the area, as well as for the Yentna River that again crested above flood stage.

 

Gale force winds forced the closure of some rides and blew away some tents at the Palmer State Fair on the 30th. The winds also knocked out power for 5,000 MEA customers. The weather with clear skies allowed frost to hit some areas on the Interior on the 31st with Salcha river reporting a low of 22°F. The same day some areas around Anchorage reported freezing,.

 

Areas burned by wildfires in 2016 (red) along with areas from 2015 (green). 2015 had the second highest areas burned by wildfires in Alaska with 5.14 million acres.

 

At the start of the August there had been one staffed wildfire, and about 520 total fires for an overall area burned of 486,000 acres. By the end of the month, those numbers had reached 500,000 acres and 543 fires. There were no staffed fires. With the low fire activity and wet weather, after mid-month Alaska firefighters were being sent out of state to help fight fires in areas such as Idaho and Oregon.

 

 

 

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.