November 2012 Statewide Summary

Temperature

Colder than normal temperatures settled in across most of Alaska throughout much of November. The majority of the month was below normal with the exception of a six day spread starting on the 9th, when temperatures were above normal. The two stations with the largest negative deviation were Gulkana and Delta Junction, both with -12.7°F, then came Fairbanks (-11.4°F), and Bettles (-8.0°F). Only three first-order stations had positive deviations in temperature: Barrow (5.2°F), Annette (1.5°F), and Kodiak (0.5°F). The mean temperature for the entire state for the month was 15.2°F, or -4.4°F below the normal long-term mean of 19.6°F, making November the seventh month in a row with a mean below normal. The table below has more details.

 

 

Station

Temperature

Observed
(°F)

Normal
(°F)

Delta
(°F)

Anchorage

17.7

22.2

-4.5

Annette

41.5

40.0

1.5

Barrow

5.9

0.7

5.2

Bethel

11.3

17.4

-6.1

Bettles

-9.0

-1.0

-8.0

Delta Junction

-6.5

6.2

-12.7

Cold Bay

30.7

34.5

-3.8

Fairbanks

-8.8

2.6

-11.4

Gulkana

-6.9

5.8

-12.7

Homer

25.6

29.5

-3.9

Juneau

29.7

33.4

-3.7

King Salmon

15.2

22.9

-7.7

Kodiak

34.4

33.9

0.5

Kotzebue

4.4

9.1

-4.7

McGrath

-1.2

5.5

-6.7

Nome

14.5

16.9

-2.4

St. Paul Island

31.3

33.0

-1.7

Talkeetna

18.5

19.5

-1.0

Valdez

25.1

28.3

-3.2

Yakutat

31.0

32.3

-1.3

 

 

In contract to October, record temperature events for November were fairly sparse. Ketchikan started the month off with a new record low of 21°F, breaking the old record of 24°F from 1984. Valdez set a new low temperature of 7.0°F on the 2nd, 3°F colder than the previous record set in 2011. On the 24th, Cold Bay tied the record low temperature set in 1976 of 16.0°F. Tok's low of -50°F on the 29th broke the 1963 record low of -46°F. Finally, in King Salmon on the 9th the record high temperature of 50.0°F, originally set in 1993, was tied.

 

 

 

Daily temperature ranges and normals, as well as the deviation from the normal temperature for the mean of the twenty first order stations for November 2012.

 

 

Precipitation

Precipitation for the state was generally below normal, and there were only four days of the month where the first order stations collectively reported above normal totals. In addition, only four of the first-order stations reporting positive deviations of normal for the month: Barrow (129%), Gulkana (18%), King Salmon (15%), and Annette (1%). Some areas in Alaska tended to be much drier than normal, and the first-order stations with the driest conditions were Bettles (0%), Nome (2%), Kotzebue (9%), and Valdez (18%) of normal. Due to these low values, the mean precipitation of the state was a mere 62% compared to normal.

 

Station

Precipitation

Observed
(in)

Normal
(in)

Delta
(in)

(%)

Delta
(%)

Anchorage

0.23

1.16

-0.93

20%

-80%

Annette

12.40

12.29

0.11

101%

1%

Barrow

0.48

0.21

0.27

229%

129%

Bethel

1.14

1.60

-0.46

71%

-29%

Bettles

0.00

0.91

-0.91

0%

-100%

Delta Junction

0.30

0.63

-0.33

48%

-52%

Cold Bay

4.51

4.98

-0.47

91%

-9%

Fairbanks

0.29

0.67

-0.38

43%

-57%

Gulkana

0.85

0.72

0.13

118%

18%

Homer

0.53

2.79

-2.26

19%

-81%

Juneau

4.59

5.99

-1.40

77%

-23%

King Salmon

1.60

1.39

0.21

115%

15%

Kodiak

4.54

6.87

-2.33

66%

-34%

Kotzebue

0.07

0.77

-0.70

9%

-91%

McGrath

0.95

1.41

-0.46

67%

-33%

Nome

0.02

1.22

-1.20

2%

-98%

St. Paul Island

2.11

2.89

-0.78

73%

-27%

Talkeetna

0.33

1.63

-1.30

20%

-80%

Valdez

1.03

5.64

-4.61

18%

-82%

Yakutat

6.85

14.45

-7.60

47%

-53%

 

 

As with the precipitation, snowfall followed in the same pattern, with a mean snowfall of 6.13'', or a mere 54% of normal. Barrow recorded 14.8'' of snowfall, or 160% above normal. The only other two stations with more snow than normal were Juneau with 15.4'' (18% more than normal) and Kodiak with 7.5'' (17% more). Annette and Bettles had the greatest negative deviation in snowfall compared to normal, receiving no snow whatsoever compared to the 3.5'' and 16.1'' respectively, that are typical for the area. Following that, Bethel received a mere 0.7'', or 12.2'' less than normal, Nome (0.2'') reported 11.9 less, and Kotzebue (0.9'') received 9.6'' less.

 

 

 

Daily mean precipitation deviation from the normal for the twenty first order stations for November 2012.

 

 

Newsworthy Events

Due to the cold temperatures for the month, air quality was poor for Fairbanks and North Pole. The use of wood stoves increased and idling cars contributed to the pollution level.  Furthermore, the first cold spell with ice fog occurred towards the end of the month. The first cold snap of the season hit Fairbanks at the end of November and continued on into December.

 

Despite the overall lack of snow during November, a snowstorm at the beginning of the month closed the Steese and Dalton highways for a day, due to both wind and drifting snow; the same thing happened toward the middle of the month. The lack of snow has affected skiers and snow machiners, keeping 2/3rds of the ski runs closed for the month. More disturbing, the lack of snow and the fierce winds at the end of the month in Palmer helped spread a rare winter wildfire, forcing the evacuation of residents of about a dozen homes in a subdivision before the fire could be contained.

 

 

This information consists of preliminary climatological data compiled by the Alaska Climate Research Center, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks. This summary is based on the 20 first order stations in Alaska operated by the National Weather Service. Extreme events of other stations are also mentioned. It should be noted that the new climate normals for the time period of 1981-2010 are applied for the calculations of the deviations, and they can be slightly different from the old normals (1971-2000), which were in use up until end of July 2011.