July 2016 Statewide Summary

Alaska Statewide Climate Summary

July 2016

 

Temperature

 

July 2016 marks the tenth month in a row with temperatures above normal. The monthly mean temperature of all First Order Stations was 58.2°F, 2.7°F above the normal of 55.5°F. This is 1.4°F above the July 2015 mean of 56.8°F. Monthly mean temperatures (see table) were above normal for 18 of the 19 First Order Stations. Calculating the mean daily temperatures of the First Order Stations, 29 days of the month were above the 30-year normal (see Figure). The peak positive deviation for the month occurred on the 17th at 7.2°F, while the greatest negative deviation was just -0.3°F on the 22nd. On a monthly basis, Nome was the only station with a negative deviation of -0.4°F from the long-term mean of 52.2°F. Kodiak had the greatest positive deviation of 5.4°F above its normal of 54.5°F. The only other station with a deviation greater than 4.0°F was St. Paul Island with 4.9°F.

 

 

Station

Temperature

Observed
(°F)

Normal
(°F)

Delta
(°F)

Anchorage

62.7

58.8

3.9

Annette

61.4

58.6

2.8

Barrow

43.7

40.9

2.8

Bethel

59.2

56.1

3.1

Bettles

60.6

59.7

0.9

Cold Bay

54.6

50.9

3.7

Delta Junction

60.7

60.2

0.5

Fairbanks

63.4

62.5

0.9

Gulkana

60.6

57.6

3.0

Homer

57.9

54.6

3.3

Juneau

59.7

56.9

2.8

King Salmon

59.1

55.5

3.6

Kodiak

59.9

54.5

5.4

Kotzebue

56.8

54.6

2.2

McGrath

61.1

60.0

1.1

Nome

51.8

52.2

-0.4

St. Paul Island

52.1

47.2

4.9

Talkeetna

62.3

60.1

2.2

Yakutat

57.4

54.3

3.1

 

 

The highest daily maximum temperature of the First Order Stations for July was 88°F reported at Fairbanks on the 13th and 14th. Fairbanks also held the spot for the highest mean temperature for the month at 63.4°F. The lowest temperature of 30°F was observed at Barrow on the 20th, and Barrow also reported the lowest July mean monthly temperature with a value of 43.7°F.

 

 

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

 

There were a fair number of daily temperature record events and all were high events, either broken or tied. Many of the events occurred at mid month during the warm spell. Anchorage had three events in a row, while St Paul Island had a total of four. Deadhorse reported on the 13th a high of 85°F, while Kuparuk hit 86°F the next day, both the highest temperatures on record for each station. Both stations are located on the North Slope.

 

 

 

Temperature Records

Date

Station

Element

New
Record

Old
Record

Year of
old Record

07/01/16

Cold Bay

Low Temperature

37

38

1971

07/08/16

Skagway

High Temperature

86

83

1965

07/11/16

King Salmon

Low Temperature

38

40

1973

07/13/16

Bethel

High Temperature

85

84

1956

07/13/16

Fairbanks

High Temperature

88

88

2009

07/14/16

Bettles

High Temperature

88

86

1999

07/14/16

Homer

High Temperature

90

69

2003

07/14/16

McGrath

High Temperature

85

85

1960

07/15/16

St. Paul

High Temperature

62

62

1960

07/16/16

King Salmon

High Temperature

76

76

1962

07/17/16

Anchorage

High Temperature

76

76

2002

07/17/16

Kodiak

High Temperature

78

75

1979

07/17/16

St. Paul

High Temperature

59

58

2005

07/18/16

Anchorage

High Temperature

79

79

1989

07/18/16

Juneau

High Temperature

82

82

1947

07/18/16

Kodiak

High Temperature

77

77

1977

07/19/16

Anchorage

High Temperature

79

77

1986

07/19/16

Craig

High Temperature

77

73

2003

07/19/16

Kenai

High Temperature

76

75

1966

07/19/16

Kodiak

High Temperature

78

77

1987

07/20/16

Bettles

High Temperature

80

77

1955

07/20/16

Kodiak

High Temperature

80

77

1955

07/25/16

St. Paul

High Temperature

59

59

2013

07/27/16

St. Paul

High Temperature

60

58

2005

 

It was the warmest July on record for Anchorage with 62.7°F, 0.2°F above the old 1977 record. This also makes July 2016 the warmest single month on record for Anchorage. The same applies for Kenai with a value of 59.0°F, topping the old record of 58.8°F from 2004. It was also the warmest July on record for Homer with 57.9°F (old record 57.8°F from 2005), Dutch Harbor with 55.8°F (old record 55.5°F from 1949) and Sitka with 59.6°F (old record 58.7°F from 1993).

 

July was the second warmest for St. Paul with 0.4°F below the 2005 record of 52.5°F. Cold Bay was 1.2°F below the record set two years before with 55.8°F.  The mean of 59.9°F at Kodiak was 0.4°F below the record from 1936. Yakutat's 57.4°F was second to the 1930 record of 58.9°F. it was the third warmest July on record for King Salmon and Bethel, while it was the fourth warmest for Juneau.

 

 

Precipitation

 

July's precipitation was higher than expected, with the overall precipitation calculated as 13% above normal (same deviation as June 2016); this calculation was based on the mean of the deviations in percentage of the First Order Stations. Ten of the First Order Stations and 18 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 wetter than July 2015, which reported a positive deviation of 7%. The greatest daily deviation of 137% occurred on the 1st. Like last month, the leading station with a greater than normal monthly precipitation amount was Fairbanks with 130% above normal. St. Paul Island was the relatively driest station at just 42% of normal precipitation observed. This is the fourth wettest July on record for Fairbanks, while it was the 5th driest July in St. Paul Island. It was the second wettest June-July period on record for Fairbanks at 8.26", second to the record of 9.34" from 2014. Eielson Visitors Center in Denali National Park received a total of 16.5" of rain in July.

 

Station

Precipitation

Observed
(in)

Normal
(in)

Delta
(in)

Delta
(%)

(%)

Anchorage

2.48

1.83

0.65

36%

136%

Annette

3.76

4.65

-0.89

-19%

81%

Barrow

0.79

0.98

-0.19

-19%

81%

Bethel

2.99

2.36

0.63

27%

127%

Bettles

2.28

2.36

-0.08

-3%

97%

Cold Bay

2.02

2.48

-0.46

-19%

81%

Delta Junction

3.45

2.68

0.77

29%

129%

Fairbanks

4.97

2.16

2.81

130%

230%

Gulkana

1.85

1.81

0.04

2%

102%

Homer

1.56

1.55

0.01

1%

101%

Juneau

4.28

4.60

-0.32

-7%

93%

King Salmon

3.52

2.30

1.22

53%

153%

Kodiak

2.46

4.93

-2.47

-50%

50%

Kotzebue

1.44

1.45

-0.01

-1%

99%

McGrath

4.20

2.38

1.82

76%

176%

Nome

3.82

2.11

1.71

81%

181%

St. Paul Island

0.78

1.85

-1.07

-58%

42%

Talkeetna

2.46

3.39

-0.93

-27%

73%

Yakutat

8.55

7.88

0.67

9%

109%

 

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

 

 

July's highest monthly precipitation total reported for a First Order Station was 8.55" at Yakutat, and Yakutat also reported the highest daily total of 2.46" on the 23rd.

 

The table below lists the limited number of daily precipitation records set in July.

 

 

Precipitation Records

Date

Station

Element

New
Record

Old
Record

Year of
old Record

07/20/16

McGrath

Precipitation

0.36

0.29

1981

07/28/16

Skagway Power

Precipitation

0.72

0.40

2015

07/29/16

Nome

Precipitation

1.43

1.21

1991

07/30/16

Bethel

Precipitation

0.68

0.58

2001

07/31/16

Fairbanks

Precipitation

0.77

0.64

1934

 

 

 

Newsworthy Events

 

July 1st saw heavy rain across the Southcentral area with Eagle River reporting 0.92Ó and the Palmer Airport reporting 0.87Ó. The Mendenhall Lake near Juneau reported an all-time high water level (from 49 years) at 11.99Õ, topping the 2014 record of 11.85Õ. The wet weather generated a mud slide on the Parks Highway at mile 260 near Healy on the 3rd. The next day flood advisories were issued for the Denali Region due to of rain of up to 2Ó in the area observed during the previous weekend. On the 5th 1.78Ó of rain was reported at Robertson River near Tanacross in just 2 1/2 hours, while a flood advisory was issued for the Kuskokwim River at Nikolai. The continuing heavy rains in the Alaska Range resulted in a mud slide on the Denali Park Highway on the night of the 15th, closing the road till it could be cleared the next day. The accumulated wet weather for the summer resulted in delay of the planned opening of the new Tanana Road until October.

 

The Alatna Complex of fires was the heaviest staffed fire for the first part of the month at 165 personnel as the fires threatened Native Allotments and cabins in the Allekaket area. At the end of the month the total area burned in the complex was over 108,000 acres. On the 14th there were over 25,000 lightning strikes, and more than 40 wildfires were started. The next day there were more than 25,000 lightning strikes once again, and another 40 wildfires were started. Rains that accompanied the storms put many of the fires out.

 

The Cutoff Fire near Tok started on the 13th and threatened the Tok Cutoff. The next day, a second fire in the area, the Tok River fire started and also threatened the Tok Cutoff. This fire was fought with over 130 personnel assigned. It was listed as contained on the 27th, and crews were detached. The fire ended the month at about 700 acres. The Mid-Salcha Fire started on the 14th and threatened a number of cabins in the area and was three miles from the Trans Alaska Pipeline. The fire was fought from the air with both planes and helicopters and it reached about 1,000 acres before the wet weather helped to contain the fire at 90% on the 23rd.

 

The human caused McHugh Creek fire started on the 16th south of Anchorage along the Seward Highway. It had grown to about 25 acres the next day. The fire was heavily fought over the next ten days and was reported to be 100% contained on the 25th, assisted by rains that moved into the area on the 21st. While residents of nearby subdivisions were warned to prepare for possible evacuations, no evacuations orders were needed. The total area burned came in at over 700 acres. Even after containment was reached, firefighters were still working on mop up operations and strengthening firebreaks. Most of the fighting was from the air due to the extreme slopes along the Seward Highway. At times smoke from the fire was reported in Anchorage, and the Seward Highway as well as trails in the area were closed. Total estimate cost to fight the fire was over 6 million dollars.

 

As heavy rains to the retuned Interior for the second half of the month, numerous flood watches and advisories were issued for areas of the Interior, especially for the Chena River Basin, for which flood advisories started on the 17th when up to 2" of rain fell in the area, and continued nearly continuously till the end of July. The Moose Creek Dam started regulating the flow of the Chena River on the evening of the 20th. The dam ceased flood control operations on then morning of the 29th, but then restarted operations on the 31st as another surge or water moved down the Chena River (see Figure). The Chena continued to flood low-lying areas around Fairbanks with flood advisories still in effect for rivers and small streams east and north of Fairbanks at the end of the month. The Fairbank's annual Rubber Duckie Race was postponed from its usual Golden Days Saturday of the 20th to the 27th, and then postponed again till August due to the continued high waters on the Chena River.

 

 

Discharge rates for the Chena River at three locations for July 2016, and the mean discharge at Fairbanks for July is presented. The effect of the activation of the Moose Creek Dam on July 20th can be seen in the flow of the Chena River at the dam, as well as downstream at Fairbanks.

 

 

On the 30th strong rainfall caused a mudslide, which closed the Denali Park Road at mile 67. The slide was 100 feet wide and up to ten feet deep and caused damage to the roadway. This closure trapped more than 100 tourists in the park. Lake Minchumina was reported at its highest level in more than 40 years.

 

At the start of the month there had been about 100 lightning caused wildfires that had burned about 125,000 acres. By the end of the month those totals had grown to 228 fires and 470,000 acres.

 

 

 

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.