2014 December Monthly Report
December started off with freezing rain for the Southcentral areas and winter storm warnings for the Fairbanks region. Snowfall totaled up to 9" at Two Rivers, and hazardous driving conditions ensued. The snowfall total for Twelvemile Summit was 12.4". Dense fog advisories were issued for the Fairbanks area for the next two days. The snowfall allowed for the opening of the Birch Hill Ski area. On the 3rd the ice fishing huts at Chena Lakes were open to rent. The Eaglecrest Ski area in Juneau opened on the 6th.
Strong winds were reported across northern Alaska on the 9th, gusts up to 89 mph were reported at Howard Pass in the northeastern Brooks Range and 87 mph at Point Hope. The delayed freeze up of the Kuskokwim River is still impacting travel in the region, as well as the Kuskokwim 300 sled dog race. It was not until the 25th that a safe trail was marked.
Mat-Su schools were closed on the 10th due to freezing rain. Air quality advisories were issued for the North Pole area on the 13th. Winter storm warnings were in effect for Bering Strait and Chukchi areas on the 14th for high winds and blowing snow. Turnagain Pass area was still closed to snow machiners at mid-month due to low snowpack. The upper mountain at Alyesak was re-opened on the 19th after a four-day closure. The thin ice on the Chena River in Fairbanks had resulted in two vehicles going through the ice at the 'ice bridge'. A bulldozer went though the ice on the Nenana River near Nenana on the 23rd. A light snowfall in Anchorage on the 21st resulted in a number of vehicle accidents.
High wind advisories were issued on Christmas day for the eastern Alaska Range. Snow advisory was alerted for western areas of northern Alaska the same day, then Fairbanks area the following day, with totals of about half a foot over the two days and 9.7" in Bettles. The 27th saw temperatures drop to -20°F for the first time of the winter in Fairbanks, third latest date to reach that temperature in more than 100 years. A large number of winter storm warnings and high wind warnings were issues across the state on the 29th. Anchorage residents enjoyed 'snow gains and ice pellets' on the 30th. Air quality alerts were in effect for North Pole and Juneau areas on the 30th. Freezing rain alerts and travel advisories were issued for the Fairbanks area for the night of the 30th and News Years Eve. The public was urged not to drive most of the Parks Highway due to ice from the freezing rain.