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2012 August Monthly Report


The month started off with a travel advisory being issued on the 7th for the Dalton Highway as an early season snowfall of four to five inches in Atigun Pass hampered travel. Flood watches were issued in mid month for northwest Alaska as a once in 100-year rainfall event struck the region. Gauges in the region were recording four to six inches total of precipitation over several days starting on the 13th; when an unusual low-pressure front stalled over the Chukchi Sea and poured rain into the region for most of a week. Kivalina bore the brunt of the storm as flooding knocked out the water supply, and then spread waste as the flooding hit the community landfill. The lack of water delayed the opening of school.

Also at the beginning of the month it looked like the fire season was all but ended, with a very small area consumed of just over 200,000 acres due to low lightning strike counts and persistently cool weather. Lighting strike count was lowest since 2003. However, nice weather in the Interior starting about the 10th encouraged the Dry Creek fire (ignited on June 23rd by a lightening strike and located eighteen miles south of North Pole) to spread and bring smoke to the Fairbanks area on the 20th and for the next several days. Air quality alerts were in place for most of the week. A steady rain over the weekend of the 25th and 26th dampened the fire. The rains also generated flood advisory for small streams near Denali National Park. By the end of August the Dry Creek fire was in the process of burning itself out.