|Information courtesy of the
National Climate Data Center
|Big Delta Airport is located approximately 1 1/2 miles from the east bank of the Delta River on the Richardson Highway and 3 miles south of the junction of the Richardson Highway with the Alaska Highway. The nearest community is Delta Junction, at the highway junction. The community of Big Delta is about 10 miles to the north where the Delta River and Tanana River join. Terrain in all directions is comparatively flat with a very gradual decrease in elevation to the north, and an increase to the south, reaching an elevation of 2,000 feet at a distance of 14 miles. Beyond this point the rise in elevation is more rapid. Isabell Pass, through the highest portion of the Alaska Range, is 60 miles to the south. From a large scale viewpoint, even though the airport is located near the Delta River, its climate is influenced more by the Tanana River valley lying between two northwest-southeast oriented mountain ranges.
The climate in this portion of Alaska is continental. Summer temperatures are mild, with maximums generally in the 65 to 80 degree range, but reaching the 90 degree level on rare occasions. There are 18 to 21 hours of sunshine daily. A number of thunderstorms occur every summer. The average freeze-free period is about 114 days, extending from mid-May to early September. Potatoes are grown commercially in the area. Winters are cold, generally with four months of minimum temperatures below zero. The days are short, the nights long. The transition periods between summer and winter and vice versa are rapid, with the daily change almost perceptible.
The annual precipitation of less then 12 inches is low for crop growth. However, well over half occurs during the summer, at the time most needed. Winter snowfall is light and generally stays on the ground throughout the winter.
Surface winds follow a normal pattern of strongest speeds in winter, lightest in summer. The direction, east-southeast, follows the orientation of the Tanana Valley from early fall to early spring, and follows the orientation of the Delta River, southwest, during the months of May through July. Wind averages and extremes are high when compared to other interior Alaska locations. With strong pressure gradients both the Tanana and Delta River valleys experience a venturi effect accentuating the already high speeds.