Alaska Climate Research Center

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Fairbanks May 2011


In Fairbanks the average temperature was 52.4°F, 2.9°F above the long term mean for May. The high temperature for the month was 86°F on the 28th. The 85°F temperature mark was reached the day before (27th), setting a new record for this day and breaking the 82°F record from the year before. In addition, the 80°F temperature on the 26th matched the old daily record (also set in just the previous year). The high temperatures towards the end of the month were not limited to Fairbanks, but were widespread across Interior Alaska. The lowest temperature of the month was 25°F observed on the 8th of the month. In general it was found that the first half of the month was at or below normal, while the second half was above the seasonally expected temperatures. The last frost with a temperature below 32°F occurred on the 11th, while "greenup" was observed on the 17th, somewhat later than usual. The range for greenup day is fairly large with the earliest date at April 30, 1993, and the latest date at May 25, 1992.

Precipitation for May was low with just 0.04", only 7% of the expected value. This is the second month in a row with far below normal precipitation values, and the third driest May on record. The combination of above normal temperatures in the second part of the month with no or little precipitation started the wildfire season earlier than usual, and several large fires were burning by the end of the month. Wind speed averaged 5.3 mph and the highest gust was 33 mph on the 24th.