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2013 November Monthly Report


Highlights

November started off with a freezing rain in Fairbanks on the 1st. Then a major storm impacted the western portion of the state on the 5th, moving quickly with high winds, a gust of 81 mph was reported at Adak. Also on the 5th, heavy snow made for slow going over Eagle Summit on the Steese Highway. Fairbanks’ first subzero temperature arrived on the 7th, later than the normal of October 26th. Bolio Lake south of Delta Junction saw -31°F that day. On the 9th the first snowfall hit Anchorage, and this is the 6th latest date for Anchorage to have its first measureable snowfall since 1930. The snow turned to freezing rain and generated a number of vehicle accidents. The 10th saw quite a bit of snow in the Interior, with up to 11" in the Fairbanks area. High winds of up to 60 mph made driving on the Dalton Highway difficult. Delays were experienced as road crews worked to clear the road at Atigun pass. Southcentral total snowfall for the storm was higher, with more than three feet in Hatcher Pass (where hikers had to be rescued by helicopter), 24.2" in Valdez (a new record) and 6" in midtown Anchorage. This storm had its greatest effects in parts of coastal western Alaska, with significant damage in villages such as Kotlik and Unalakleet.

The weather event of the month started on the 12th with another storm slamming into western Alaska, pushing floodwaters and high winds into villages along the Norton Sound area. Water and sewer lines above ground, roads and communication towers as well as buildings were among the infrastructure damaged. The storm dropped rain, snow and 'frizzle' (freezing drizzle) in the Interior. What was very unusual is that it was raining at a temperature of 10°F. This was followed by record high temperature and high winds, up to 83 mph, that resulted in many downed trees and widespread power outages across the Fairbanks area. Up to a third of the residents were without power for up to a week, even as additional electrical workers were brought up from Anchorage. Schools in the Fairbanks Borough were closed for three days. Power outages extended throughout the Interior. The Southcentral was not spared the storm's wrath with freezing rain and terrible road conditions. Fairbanks area stores were sold out of generators as residents tried to cope. The impact of the loss of electricity became acute as temperatures plummeted following the storm. Fairbanks saw -33°F on the 21st and -50°F was recorded at Chicken and Tok. The Governor declared disaster declarations for the areas in western Alaska and the Interior with substantial damage from the storm.

While temperatures dropped in the Interior, Southcentral and Southeast endured another storm on the 21st with gale level warnings for coastal areas in Cook Inlet, blizzard warnings for Prince William Sound, and winter storm warnings in Southeast. Girdwood and Seward schools were closed. The resulting road conditions were atrocious and many auto accidents were reported in the Southcentral area. As the storm pushed inland on the 22nd, high winds of over 60 mph and snowdrifts were impacting driving near Delta Junction, Denali National Park, higher elevations of the Steese Highway and portions of the Dalton Highway.

More snow dumped on the Interior on the 27th, with high winds, drifting snow and avalanches all impacting driving on the Dalton Highway. Dropping temperatures (-41°F at Fort Yukon) at the end of the month slowed the roller-coaster spectacle that was the weather of November 2013.