January 2016 Statewide Summary

Alaska Statewide Climate Summary

January 2016

 

Temperature

 

January 2016 is the fourth month in a row where temperatures were above normal. The monthly mean temperature of all First Order Stations was 22.3°F, 10.9°F above the normal of 11.4°F. This is 7.3°F above the January 2015 mean of 15.0°F. Monthly mean temperatures were above normal for all 19 First Order Stations. Calculating the mean daily temperatures of the First Order Stations (see Figure), all 31 days of the month were above the 30-year normal. The peak positive deviation for the month, an extreme 20.5°F, occurred on the 2nd. On a monthly basis, Delta Junction held the greatest positive deviation from normal with a significant value of 16.7°F above its long-term mean of -1.0°F. Stations following Delta Junction with deviations equal to or exceeding 15.0°F were Kotzebue (16.6°F), King Salmon (16.2°F), Bettles (15.0°F), McGrath (15.0°F), and Nome (15.0°F).

 

Station

Temperature

Observed
(°F)

Normal
(°F)

Delta
(°F)

Anchorage

27.0

17.1

9.9

Annette

40.9

37.0

3.9

Barrow

-0.3

-13.4

13.1

Bethel

21.5

6.6

14.9

Bettles

5.0

-10.0

15.0

Cold Bay

32.8

28.2

4.6

Delta Junction

15.7

-1.0

16.7

Fairbanks

3.5

-7.9

11.4

Gulkana

6.1

-2.9

9.0

Homer

33.9

24.8

9.1

Juneau

34.9

28.3

6.6

King Salmon

32.4

16.2

16.2

Kodiak

36.4

30.5

5.9

Kotzebue

13.8

-2.8

16.6

McGrath

8.5

-6.5

15.0

Nome

20.2

5.2

15.0

St. Paul Island

30.8

25.1

5.7

Talkeetna

25.1

14.2

10.9

Yakutat

35.9

28.1

7.8

 

 

The highest temperature of the First Order Stations was 52°F reported at Annette on both the 10th and 11th of the month. Annette also held the spot for the highest mean temperature for the month at 40.9°F. The lowest temperature was -32°F at Bettles on the 22nd, while Barrow reported the lowest January mean temperature at ‑0.3°F.

 

 

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

 

There were a fair number of temperature record events in January, and like December, all were high events.  It was the second warmest January on record in Barrow after the record of 5.6°F set in 1930. It was the fourth warmest January for Kotzebue, Delta Junction and Northway. It was the fifth warmest for King Salmon and Bettles.

                                                                                                     

By January 31st, it had been 1457 days since the low temperature at Barrow had reached -40°F. The previous longest run had been the 761 days ending February 15th, 1982.

 

 

Temperature Records

Date

Station

Element

New
Record

Old
Record

Year of
old Record

01/02/16

King Salmon

High Temperature

42

42

1995

01/02/16

McGrath

High Temperature

43

42

1988

01/03/16

Bettles

High Temperature

32

31

1988

01/03/16

Delta Junction

High Temperature

39

36

2013

01/03/16

McGrath

High Temperature

40

34

2011

01/04/16

Bettles

High Temperature

32

30

1974

01/04/16

King Salmon

High Temperature

45

43

1995

01/04/16

Kotzebue

High Temperature

30

29

1942

01/05/16

McGrath

High Temperature

42

38

1993

01/06/16

McGrath

High Temperature

38

38

1993

01/10/16

Annette

High Temperature

52

50

2010

01/17/16

St. Paul

High Temperature

39

39

1979

01/25/16

Annette

High Temperature

50

50

2005

01/25/16

Ketchikan

High Temperature

51

50

1998

01/25/16

Sitka

High Temperature

50

48

1983

01/26/16

Auke Bay

High Temperature

44

44

1998

01/26/16

Hollis

High Temperature

48

48

1962

01/26/16

Juneau

High Temperature

45

43

2011

01/26/16

Sitka

High Temperature

50

48

1998

01/27/16

Annette

High Temperature

51

51

2014

01/27/16

Bettles

High Temperature

32

27

1957

01/27/16

Juneau

High Temperature

47

46

1961

01/27/16

Ketchikan

High Temperature

50

49

1958

01/28/16

Bettles

High Temperature

32

29

1972

 

Precipitation

 

January precipitation was notably lower than expected, with the overall precipitation calculated as 23% below normal; this calculation was based on the mean of the deviations in percentage of the First Order Stations. Twelve of the First Order Stations and 23 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. It was also considerably drier than January 2015, which had a heavy precipitation total of 66% above normal. The greatest daily deviation of 71% occurred on the 28th. Like December, on a monthly basis, Fairbanks had the greatest negative deviation from normal, with a total of 0.01", or just 2% of the expected amount of 0.58". The other stations with precipitation totals less than 30% of normal were McGrath (7%), Delta Junction (16%), Talkeetna (26%), and Bethel (29%). The leading station with a greater than normal precipitation amount was Barrow with 131% above normal.

 

Station

Precipitation

Observed
(in)

Normal
(in)

Delta
(in)

Delta
(%)

(%)

Anchorage

0.28

0.73

-0.45

-62%

38%

Annette

9.50

10.73

-1.23

-11%

89%

Barrow

0.30

0.13

0.17

131%

231%

Bethel

0.23

0.78

-0.55

-71%

29%

Bettles

0.33

0.81

-0.48

-59%

41%

Cold Bay

4.49

3.16

1.33

42%

142%

Delta Junction

0.05

0.31

-0.26

-84%

16%

Fairbanks

0.01

0.58

-0.57

-98%

2%

Gulkana

0.24

0.46

-0.22

-48%

52%

Homer

4.50

2.63

1.87

71%

171%

Juneau

6.53

5.35

1.18

22%

122%

King Salmon

0.48

1.02

-0.54

-53%

47%

Kodiak

10.41

8.29

2.12

26%

126%

Kotzebue

0.38

0.62

-0.24

-39%

61%

McGrath

0.08

1.09

-1.01

-93%

7%

Nome

0.53

0.94

-0.41

-44%

56%

St. Paul Island

1.61

1.58

0.03

2%

102%

Talkeetna

0.35

1.36

-1.01

-74%

26%

Yakutat

14.42

13.66

0.76

6%

106%

 

 

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

 

 

The maximum monthly precipitation total reported for a First Order Station was 14.42" at Yakutat, while Annette reported the highest daily total of 2.07" on the 25th, a new record for that specific day.

 

There were a limited number of daily precipitation records this January, and all were located in the Southeast towards the end of the month.

 

For January, McGrath received a total of 0.08" of precipitation, the lowest on record. The previous record low total was 0.10 from January 1961. Fairbanks tied the record low precipitation of 0.01, originally set in 1966. The total precipitation in Fairbanks from December 1st, 2015 to January 31st, 2016 was 0.08". This is the lowest amount for this time frame after the 0.10" from 1969-70.

 

 

 

Precipitation Records

Date

Station

Element

New
Record

Old
Record

Year of
old Record

01/25/16

Haines Airport

Precipitation

1.26

1.00

1979

01/25/16

Ketchikan

Precipitation

3.84

1.85

2011

01/25/16

Skagway Airport

Precipitation

0.65

0.40

1910

01/26/16

Annex Creek

Precipitation

1.74

1.47

1944

01/26/16

Auke Bay

Precipitation

1.22

0.64

1992

01/26/16

Juneau

Precipitation

0.87

0.66

2009

01/26/16

Skagway Airport

Precipitation

0.53

0.45

1944

01/30/16

Cold Bay

Precipitation

0.61

0.57

1988

 

Snowfall

 

Snowfall was unsurprisingly light, with thirteen of the 15 First Order Stations that measure snowfall reporting below normal amounts, with St. Paul matching its normal of 12.6" and Barrow reporting 73% above normal. Based on the mean of the deviations from all 15 stations, the overall deviation from the normals was 60% below the expected amount. Yakutat reported the greatest snowfall negative deviation amount at -31.9" with an actual total of 0.0". Juneau and Annette also reported a total of 0.0". Snowpack averaged about 70% of normal.

 

Station

Snowfall

Observed
(in)

Normal
(in)

Delta
(in)

Delta
(%)

(%)

Anchorage

3.5

11.3

-7.8

-69%

31%

Annette

0.0

7.6

-7.6

-100%

0%

Barrow

4.5

2.6

1.9

73%

173%

Bethel

2.4

9.6

-7.2

-75%

25%

Bettles

8.1

13.9

-5.8

-42%

58%

Cold Bay

9.0

14.1

-5.1

-36%

64%

Fairbanks

0.8

10.3

-9.5

-92%

8%

Juneau

0.0

27.7

-27.7

-100%

0%

King Salmon

0.6

10.2

-9.6

-94%

6%

Kodiak

0.1

13.0

-12.9

-99%

1%

Kotzebue

5.9

9.1

-3.2

-35%

65%

McGrath

1.3

15.7

-14.4

-92%

8%

Nome

8.2

12.7

-4.5

-35%

65%

St. Paul Island

12.6

12.6

0.0

0%

100%

Yakutat

0.0

31.9

-31.9

-100%

0%

 

 

St. Paul reported the highest total snowfall at 12.8". Cold Bay reported the highest one-day snowfall at 3.5" on the 8th. Bettles reported the highest snow depth at 29". It was the fourth least snowiest January for both Anchorage and Fairbanks. On the 29th, a total of 2.5" of snow fell in Nome, breaking the daily record of 1.6" set in 2008.

 

Yakutat tied for a low monthly snowfall record for January with a total of 0.0". This record low was previously set in 1942 and 1926. Similarly, Annette tied the old 1942 record of 0.0". Juneau tied the 1942 record low monthly snowfall with a trace amount. It was the second least snowiest January for Fairbanks after the 0.7" from 1966. It was the third lowest snowfall January for King Salmon and McGrath, and the fourth for Kodiak. The total snowfall in Fairbanks from December 1st, 2015 to January 31st, 2016 was 1.9". This is the lowest snowfall amount for this time frame, beating the 2.1" from 1952-53.

 

 

 

Snowfall Records

Date

Station

Element

New
Record

Old
Record

Year of
old Record

12/07/15

Cold Bay

Snowfall

4.2

2.5

1971

12/10/15

King Salmon

Snowfall

6.0

6.0

1999

12/16/15

Cold Bay

Snowfall

2.3

2.2

1997

12/17/15

Barrow

Snowfall

1.3

1.1

1923

12/18/15

Bethel

Snowfall

4.8

4.0

1928

12/26/15

Juneau

Snowfall

6.6

6.4

2008

12/30/15

Cold Bay

Snowfall

3.3

2.6

1972

 

 

Newsworthy Events

 

 

 

January started out with the Dalton Highway closed due to an avalanche between mileposts 242 and 249 while the Klondike Highway closed due to avalanche danger as road crews worked to reduce the hazard. The Dalton Highway was cleared by the next day, and then the Thane Road near Juneau was closed intermittently for avalanche danger reduction. A small stream flooding advisory was issued on the 2nd for ice jams on the Anchor River that extended into the next day, with flooding reported o the 7th. Fort Greely reported a high wind speed of 51 mph on the 2nd. Icy roads caused a number of automobile accidents and ice-skating in the streets in Anchorage on the 2nd.

 

A travel advisory was issued for the Dalton Highway on the 5th due to blowing snow and reduced visibility between miles 242 and 247. Avalanche danger was listed as high. Avalanche control was planned for the area. The Aleutians braced for another El Ni–o directed storm headed for the area, and wind gust up to 76 mph were measured on the 6th at Adak, and 94 mph at Dutch Harbor.

 

 

Description: ICEPICK:gi:Monthly Summaries:2016:01:Figure 3.jpg

This water vapor satellite image from the National Weather Service for the 6th of January shows the well-developed low-pressure weather pattern of the Bering Sea storm that brought high winds to the area.

 

The Dalton Highway was closed due to an avalanche between miles 239 and 247 on the 7th, while wind advisories were issued for the area the next day. Freezing rain again plagued driving in the Anchorage area on the 8th. A total of 8.0" of snow was reported at the Haines Customs on the 12th. Dense fog was reported in the Mat-Su areas on the 13th, and icy roads were prevalent again in the Anchorage area the next day.

 

High winds warnings were issued from Ketchikan to the Brooks Range on the 16th. More freezing rain was reported along the Seward Highway on the 20th. High winds were recorded in the Juneau area on the 20th, with gusts up to 40 mph in downtown Juneau. Winds up to 40 mph were recorded on the Prince of Wales Island on the 21st. An overflow was reported along the Dalton highway on the 21st, and the 26th the State moved to protect the highway from damage from the overflow. A total of 14.0" of snow was reported at Haines Custom station on the 22nd as heavy snow fell across the areas. By the end of the month, this station had measured a total of 71.3"; the greatest for any station in Alaska, and more than 20" above normal. The highest snow depth at Haines Custom station was 67" on the 23rd. The 23rd saw witness to the first sunrise in Barrow since November 18th.

 

High winds were again reported in the Southeast on the 26th. Wrangell had gusts up to 70 mph, and damage was reported. Seventy mph guests were recorded in downtown Juneau and some trees and utilities poles were knocked down. Gusts up to 129 mph hit Sheep Mountain. Eaglecrest measured gusts up to 89 mph. Skagway topped out at 39 mph. Waves up to 32 feet were reported in the southeastern Gulf of Alaska. Heavy rain accompanied the storm, and 2.94" was measured at Snettisham Power Plant. Near Haines the total was over 2", while the Juneau Airport received 1.67", a new daily record. A number of other precipitation records were broken in the Northern Panhandle area. The Eaglecrest ski area was closed the next day as staff repaired the slopes after the storm. More freezing rain hit Anchorage in the 28th.

 

The month ended where it started with an avalanche closing the Klondike Highway on the 27, and it remained closed till the 29th.

 

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.