Alaska Climate Research Center

The Alaska State Climate Center
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The Alaska State Climate Center
Home > Monthly Reports > 2017 May Monthly Report

2017 May Monthly Report


The Nenana Ice Classic ended on at 12 pm ADT on May 1st as the ice moved on the Tanana River at Nenana and stopped the clock. The same day the snow depth officially dropped to zero at the Fairbanks International Airport. The next day the temperature at the Fairbanks Airport hit 60°F for the first time for 2017. Also on May 2nd, avalanche reduction efforts were initiated on the Dalton Highway in Atigun Pass. A strong storm in the Gulf of Alaska generated high winds along the Panhandle on the 2nd with gusts up to 74 mph reported at Cape Sensor and Cape Decision, 59 mph at Hydaburg, 46 mph at Ketchikan and Sitka, 43 mph at Juneau and Skagway and 41 mph at Annette. The storm had a reported low pressure of just 968 hPa.
Pea-sized hail fell at Juneau on the 3rd.

On the 3rd the Kuskokwim River broke up at Aniak, and the same day the Yukon broke up at Dawson in the Yukon Territory. The next day Kuskokwim River broke up at Kalskag, while hazardous driving conditions were reported along the Dalton Highway near milepost 29 due to water flowing over the road. The problem persisted into the 5th. Also on the 4th, the Yukon River was reported broken up at Eagle, while the Kuskokwim Ice Classic tripod tipped at Bethel. Minor flooding was reported at Circle on the 6th, and then the Yukon River broke up at Circle two days later. The Koyukuk River was also reported to have broken up at Bettles on the 8th. Finally, the Yukon broke up at Rampart on the 13th. All considered, it was a quiet breakup along the Interior Rivers with just minor flooding reported at Circle and Manley Hot Springs.

May 8th was Green Up Day at Fairbanks. Also on the 8th, Manly Hot Springs reported the first 70°F temperature for 2017. The sun rose at Barrow at 2:54 am on the 10th and will stay above the horizon until August 21st. The same day Anchorage reported 60°F for the first time in 2017 and the next day the same happened at Skagway. Anchorage did not report 70°F mark until the 31st.

Snow was reported falling and sticking at Eureka on the 14th. Avalanche reduction efforts were held in Atigun Pass on the Dalton Highway on the 14th. Almost 3.5" of rain fell at Fawn Lake near Ketchikan on the 15th. Both Fairbanks and Juneau reported the first high of 70°F on the 16th. For Juneau, this is about two weeks earlier than usual. The Denali highway opened to summer traffic on the 16th, and final avalanche reduction efforts were happening in Atigun Pass on the Dalton Highway.

A strong storm impacted the Panhandle on the 21st with high winds and heavy rain. Little Port Walter recorded 8.52", 3.25" fell at Yakutat, 2.52" at Pt. Baker and 2.03" at Sitka. Wind gusts up to 57 mph were reported at Cape Decision, 52 mph at Lincoln Island, 46 mph at Hydaburg, 40 mph at Juneau, 35 mph at Annette, and 33 mph at Sitka.

With the plunging temperatures on the 25th, hail was reported along Turnagain Arm, while both hail (up to pea-sized) and snow were reported around Fairbanks on the 26th, with up to an inch of snow reported in the hills out of town. Snow was reported falling and sticking along the Richardson Highway at Thompson Pass. Snow was also reported at higher elevations in the Denali Park area. Up to two feet fell at the 7,200 ft. basecamp on Denali. More snow, up to 3", was reported in Denali Park on the 30th.

Burn prohibitions were issued for Eastern Interior areas of Delta Junction to Tok on the 25th. The suspension remained in effect till the end of the month.