April 2017 Statewide Summary

Alaska Statewide Climate Summary

April 2017

 

Temperature

 

In a reversal of March 2017, the mean monthly temperature for April 2017 was notably above normal. The mean temperature of all First Order Stations was 35.5°F, 5.0°F above the normal of 30.5°F. This is 2.8°F below the April 2016 mean of 38.3°F. Calculating the mean daily temperatures of the First Order Stations, all 30 days of the month were above the 30-year normal. The greatest deviation occurred on the 12th with 9.1°F above normal (see Figure). Monthly mean temperatures were above normal for all 19 of the First Order Stations (see table). Kotzebue held the spot with the greatest positive deviation in April with a significant 11.0°F above its normal of 13.3°F. Other stations with deviations greater than 8°F were Nome (9.9°F) and Bethel (8.9°F). All three stations are located in western Alaska.

 

Station

Temperature

Observed
(°F)

Normal
(°F)

Delta
(°F)

Anchorage

40.4

36.8

3.6

Annette

48.7

44.2

4.5

Barrow

6.6

1.8

4.8

Bethel

35.8

26.9

8.9

Bettles

27.4

23.3

4.1

Cold Bay

36.1

34.0

2.1

Delta Junction

37.2

32.2

5.0

Fairbanks

36.1

32.5

3.6

Gulkana

36.6

31.8

4.8

Homer

41.8

37.0

4.8

Juneau

43.0

40.8

2.2

King Salmon

38.9

33.7

5.2

Kodiak

39.9

37.6

2.3

Kotzebue

24.3

13.3

11.0

McGrath

36.4

29.7

6.7

Nome

30.4

20.5

9.9

St. Paul Island

32.1

29.2

2.9

Talkeetna

40.8

35.9

4.9

Yakutat

41.4

37.8

3.6

 

 

The highest daily maximum temperature of the First Order Stations for April was 69°F reported at Annette on the 22nd. Annette also held the spot for the highest mean temperature for the month at 48.7°F. The lowest temperature of -21°F was observed at Barrow on the 3rd, and Barrow also reported the lowest April mean monthly temperature with a value of 6.6°F.  

 

Daily mean temperature deviation from the normal temperature for the mean of the First Order Stations for April 2017.

 

There were a fair number of record event this April, and all were new record daily highs. Many of the records were set in the Southeast during the nice weather spell mid month. St. Paul set three new daily highs.

 

 

Temperature Records

Date

Station

Element

New
Record

Old
Record

Year of
old Record

04/12/17

Annette

High Temperature

64

62

1963

04/12/17

Annex Creek

High Temperature

61

60

2012

04/12/17

Gustavus

High Temperature

61

59

2004

04/12/17

Sitka

High Temperature

62

57

1990

04/12/17

Yakutat

High Temperature

63

54

2012

04/13/17

Annex Creek

High Temperature

61

59

1932

04/13/17

Ketchikan

High Temperature

61

60

1963

04/13/17

Petersburg

High Temperature

59

56

1963

04/13/17

Sitka

High Temperature

60

59

1990

04/13/17

Yakutat

High Temperature

60

56

1990

04/14/17

Annex Creek

High Temperature

60

58

1934

04/14/17

Auke Bay

High Temperature

60

58

1934

04/14/17

Craig

High Temperature

62

61

2004

04/14/17

Yakutat

High Temperature

61

57

1930

04/15/17

St. Paul

High Temperature

43

41

2004

04/16/17

St. Paul

High Temperature

43

41

2014

04/17/17

Annette

High Temperature

64

60

1967

04/17/17

Annex Creek

High Temperature

59

56

1953

04/17/17

St. Paul

High Temperature

44

41

2016

04/22/17

Annette

High Temperature

69

65

1997

04/24/17

Nome

High Temperature

48

47

1940

04/30/17

Kotzebue

High Temperature

49

46

1960

 

 

Precipitation

 

Like March 2017, April's precipitation was decidedly below normal, with the overall precipitation calculated as 56% below the average; this calculation was based on the mean of the deviations in percentage of the First Order Stations. All but one of the First Order Stations and 26 days of the month reported below normal values. This is notably drier than April 2016, which reported a precipitation deviation of 3% above normal. The greatest daily precipitation amount occurred on the 27th. The only station with a greater than normal monthly precipitation amount was Kodiak with 7.35", or 27% above normal of 5.81". The driest stations were Barrow and Delta Junction with just a trace amount of precipitation reported. Bettles, Gulkana, Kotzebue, and Talkeetna also reported less than 20% of their normal precipitation amounts.

 

 

Station

Precipitation

Observed
(in)

Normal
(in)

Delta
(in)

Delta
(%)

(%)

Anchorage

0.40

0.47

-0.07

-15%

85%

Annette

2.88

6.77

-3.89

-57%

43%

Barrow

0.00

0.16

-0.16

-100%

0%

Bethel

0.47

0.74

-0.27

-36%

64%

Bettles

0.10

0.60

-0.50

-83%

17%

Cold Bay

1.01

2.42

-1.41

-58%

42%

Delta Junction

0.00

0.23

-0.23

-100%

0%

Fairbanks

0.09

0.31

-0.22

-71%

29%

Gulkana

0.03

0.24

-0.21

-88%

13%

Homer

0.56

1.07

-0.51

-48%

52%

Juneau

1.96

2.94

-0.98

-33%

67%

King Salmon

0.75

0.97

-0.22

-23%

77%

Kodiak

7.35

5.81

1.54

27%

127%

Kotzebue

0.05

0.54

-0.49

-91%

9%

McGrath

0.38

0.74

-0.36

-49%

51%

Nome

0.15

0.76

-0.61

-80%

20%

St. Paul Island

1.07

1.08

-0.01

-1%

99%

Talkeetna

0.17

1.29

-1.12

-87%

13%

Yakutat

3.29

9.19

-5.90

-64%

36%

 

Daily mean precipitation deviation from the normal for the First Order Stations for April 2017.

 

 

April's highest monthly precipitation total reported for a First Order Station was 7.35" at Kodiak, and Kodiak also reported the highest daily total of 2.04" on the 5th, a new daily record, breaking the old record of 1.52" from 2004. Two more precipitation records set during April: on the 11th, St. Paul received a total of 0.38", breaking the 1972 record of 0.25", then Kodiak set a second record of 1.23" on the 22nd, breaking the 1.13" from 1999.

 

For Delta Junction, the trace of precipitation for April ties (with four other years: 2001, 1995, 1990, 1976) for the lowest on record. It was the second driest April for Northway with 0.1" after the trace record set in 2005, 2004, 2003 and 1991. It was the third driest April for Nome (0.15") and the fourth driest for Kotzebue (0.05").

 

Snowfall

 

Snowfall was significantly below normal due to warmer than normal temperatures, and less overall precipitation during April. Based on the mean of the deviations from all 15 stations, which measure snowfall, the overall deviation from the normals was 78% below the expected amount. This is even less than the snowfall deviation from April 2016, which had a 42% deficit. All 15 of the First Order Stations reported below normal snowfall. Anchorage, Annette, Juneau all reported no measurable snowfall during April. King Salmon reported the greatest snowfall amount for the month of a meager 2.9", and King Salmon also reported the highest one-day snowfall at 2.8" on the 1st. The greatest snow depth was 46" and was reported at Kotzebue during the first week of the month. There no snowfall records recorded. Overall snowpack continued to be lower than normal with less than half expected amount.

 

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

0.6

3.2

-2.6

-81%

19%

Bethel

0.9

5.7

-4.8

-84%

16%

Bettles

1.7

6.3

-4.6

-73%

27%

Cold Bay

2.6

6.6

-4.0

-61%

39%

Fairbanks

1.2

2.9

-1.7

-59%

41%

Juneau

0.0

1.1

-1.1

-100%

0%

King Salmon

2.9

3.9

-1.0

-26%

74%

Kodiak

1.1

8.0

-6.9

-86%

14%

Kotzebue

1.5

5.1

-3.6

-71%

29%

McGrath

2.6

5.1

-2.5

-49%

51%

Nome

1.1

7.5

-6.4

-85%

15%

St. Paul Island

0.2

5.7

-5.5

-96%

4%

Yakutat

0.1

10.2

-10.1

-99%

1%

 

 

Newsworthy Events

 

Fairbanks broke 50°F on the 1st of April for the first time since October 12th, 2016. On the 4th, avalanche warnings were issued for Turnagain Arm, Kenai and Chugach Mountain areas. On the 4th, 5th and 6th, avalanche reduction efforts were conducted along the Seward Highway around the Turnagain Pass area. Hazardous driving conditions were reported along the northern end of the Dalton Highway on the 5th, then on the southern end the next day. Hazardous conditions extended into the next day for much of the Elliott and Dalton Highways.

 

On the 4th, gusts up to 72 mph were recorded at Cape Decision, 47 mph at Annette Island, and 39 mph at Ketchikan. The high winds continued into the next day with 69 mph recorded at Lincoln Island and Cape Decision, 63 mph at Hydaburg, 59 mph at Ketchikan, 48 mph at Annette Island, and 41 mph at Yakutat.

 

On the 10th, hazardous driving conditions were reported on the Top of the World and Taylor Highways. Temperatures dropped in the Interior on the 18th with -4°F reported at Eagle and ‑2°F at Circle Hot Springs. High winds were reported around the Interior and western Alaska on the 19th with 43 mph at Shaktoolik River, 40 mph at Ruby, 39 mph at Unalakleet, 38 mph at Tanana, 34 mph at Livingood and 32 mph at Fairbanks.

 

For Fairbanks the 3rd longest stretch of days (205) where the minimum temperature was less than 30°F ended on April 22nd. The longest stretch was 213 days that ended May 5th, 2013. The next day ended the 207-day stretch of temperatures below freezing. The snowy winter in the Juneau area helped the Eaglecrest Ski area stay open 95 days, longest stretch since 2012.

 

Dry conditions resulted in a small grass fire on Douglas Island, on the 24th. The next day, a burn suspension was issued for the Tok area due to dry, windy conditions. Smoke jumpers fought their first wildfire of the season near Delta Junction on the 27th.

 

 

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.