|Information courtesy of the
National Climate Data Center
|King Salmon is located in that area of southwestern Alaska which joins the Alaskan Peninsula and the Alaskan mainland. It is located about 1/4 mile from the Naknek River and lies 18 miles inland from the shores of Kvichak Bay, an arm of the much larger Bristol Bay. The terrain surrounding the station for a radius of 30 to 60 miles to the north through east to south-southwest is gently rolling, barren tundra. Some 60 miles to the east and southeast, however, the Aleutian Range rises to peaks a little above the 7,000-foot level. This mountain range extends in a northeast-southwest direction. The southern end of the Kuskokwim Range reaches southward to an area roughly 100 miles directly west of King Salmon. Nearness to the ocean tends to provide King Salmon with a climate that is predominantly maritime in character, with diurnal and seasonal temperature ranges normally confined to rather narrow limits. However, the area occasionally experiences definite continental influences that cause temperature extremes which tend to exaggerate the climatic conditions generally prevailing. Extreme temperatures range from upper 80s to readings near -40 degrees, but days in summer with maximum readings reaching 80 degrees are extremely rare. In fact, July, the warmest month, has an average of only five days with temperatures reaching 70 degrees or above.
Cloud coverage in the King Salmon area is generally quite high, averaging about eight-tenths the year around. Mountain ranges to the south, east, and west tend to provide uplift for air moving toward King Salmon from these directions and produce considerable cloudiness which is carried out across the local area. When the wind movement is inland from the southwest, the air arrives carrying a high moisture content to condense in low level cloudiness, and this action contributes to the frequent fog occurrences all months of the year. Fog development is most frequent during the months of July and August. During the winter months the high moisture content of the air causes substantial accumulations of frost on outside objects. Seasonal snowfall averages about 45 inches, with the maximum depth on the ground during the winter season averaging about 10 inches. This indicates the extent of melting that takes place with the snow accumulation. Although most of the snow is received during periods of general snowfall over most of the southwestern mainland, a considerable amount of snow is brought in as snow showers which move inland from the Bristol Bay area. These showers are generally quite local and usually of short duration, but they often follow in rapid succession to bring sizeable accumulations of snow within relatively short periods of time. December has the greatest monthly average snowfall amount.
From December through March the area experiences rather strong winds, due to the passage of eastward-moving Aleutian lows. The strongest winds are usually from a northerly direction, developing after the low centers have passed on east of the local area. Winds of 50 mph or more have occurred in all months with extremes above 90 mph.
Ice in the bay near King Salmon usually becomes safe for man around November 11, with the Naknek River becoming safe for man around November 25. Break-up on the bay averages about April 6, with the break-up on the river averaging about April 18.
The average date of the last freeze is late May and the average date of the first freeze is early September. The average growing season is 100 days.