2016 April Monthly Report
As an early breakup began across the Interior, members of the public were asked to stop using Interior logging roads at the start of the month. The public was also warned about unsafe ice conditions on Interior rivers. On the 4th hazardous driving conditions were reported on the Dalton Highway for blowing snow, poor visibility and high winds, and similar conditions were reported two and three days later also for the Dalton Highway. On the 7th a small wildfire was fought at McHugh Creek above Seward Highway.
On the 8th the Denali Park Road was opened to mile 30, the earliest opening since 2010, due to the early snowmelt. Poor visibility also forced the Arctic Man race to call off races on the 8th. The same day geese were spotted at Clearwater Lake near Delta Junction, and then two days later geese and swans were reported at Creamers Field in Fairbanks.
The Taylor Highway was opened to Eagle on the 11th, however the Top of the World Highway towards Canada remained closed. The same day hazardous conditions due to blowing snow the Dalton Highway were reported. Similar conditions were reported along portions of the Dalton Highway over the next four days. The second brown bear of the year in the Fairbanks area was spotted awake in on the 13th. Fish and Game has reported the bears are awake early this spring due to the warm conditions. On the 17th firefighters were fighting a small wildfire near Palmer that was discovered the day before. It was described as nearly contained on the 19th. Also on the 19th, driving conditions on portions of the Dalton Highway again deteriorated to hazardous due to blowing snow. Similar conditions persisted for the next three days.
Break up began on the middle Kuskokwim River on the 20th, earliest on record. The ice went out on the Tanana River at Nenana on the 23rd, according to the Nenana Ice Classic. This is the second earliest end to the annual guessing game in 100 years. The earliest is April 20th.
Avalanche reduction was performed between mileposts 241 to 247 of the Dalton Highway on the 26th. The same day the ice on the Yukon River broke up at Eagle, the earliest on record. This resulted in an ice jam downstream, and flood advisories were issued in Eagle as a result. Flooding into roads, and yards was reported at Eagle on the 28th. The water level started dropping the next day as the ice jam broke up.
The Steese highway was closed for part of the 28th at mile 138 due to water across the road. The Yukon River broke up at Circle on the 29th, while the Koyukuk River broke up at Bettles the next day. Water was reported flowing over the Dalton Highway at mile 57 on the 30th.