April 2013 Statewide Summary

 

Temperature

Winter lingered across Alaska in April with seasonably colder than normal temperatures reported at all 20 first order stations. The mean temperature of all first order stations for April was 24.0°F, ‑6.9°F below the long-term mean of 30.9°F. Interior stations reported the most extreme deviations from their expected temperatures with Delta Junction topping the list with a astonishing negative deviation of -15.2°F. Following Delta Junction were: Fairbanks (-14.6°F), Bettles (‑11.7°F), Gulkana (-11.4°F), McGrath (‑10.6°F) and Talkeetna (‑10.2). Cold Bay was the station reporting the smallest deviation of just -0.2°F. Four record high events experienced by Cold Bay during the month kept the monthly mean temperature near to normal. Temperatures started out above normal for the first four days stayed (with the exception of 24th), mostly, significantly, below normal after that. Fairbanks had the third coldest April on record, Anchorage the sixth. Details for each station can be reviewed in the table below.

 

Station

Temperature

Observed
(°F)

Normal
(°F)

Delta
(°F)

Anchorage

29.6

36.8

-7.2

Annette

43.1

44.2

-1.1

Barrow

0.6

1.8

-1.2

Bethel

17.3

26.9

-9.6

Bettles

11.7

23.3

-11.7

Cold Bay

33.8

34.0

-0.2

Delta Junction

17.1

32.2

-15.2

Fairbanks

18.0

32.5

-14.6

Gulkana

20.4

31.8

-11.4

Homer

31.7

37.0

-5.3

Juneau

36.1

40.8

-4.7

King Salmon

28.4

33.7

-5.3

Kodiak

33.8

37.6

-3.8

Kotzebue

9.4

13.3

-3.9

McGrath

19.1

29.7

-10.6

Nome

16.3

20.5

-4.2

St. Paul Island

23.9

29.2

-5.4

Talkeetna

25.7

35.9

-10.2

Valdez

31.5

38.1

-6.6

Yakutat

32.5

37.8

-5.3

 

 

Description: First Order Temperature1

Daily mean temperature deviation from the normal temperature for the mean of the 20 first order stations for April 2013.

 

April generated a large number of record temperature events. As noted above, Cold Bay had four record high events, and was the only station to experience a high event in April. This is also unusual in that one station had four events of the same kind occurring in one month. Having stated that, Delta Junction went two better with six record low events in April. They transpired in two groups; first around the 10th and the other around the 27th. The cold in Fairbanks on the 28th broke the record set way back in 1922. The rest of cold events were scattered across the state and throughout the month.

 

 

Temperature Records

Date

Station

Element

New
Record

Old
Record

Year of
old Record

04/05/13

Cold Bay

High Temperature

46

46

2001

04/10/13

Delta Junction

Low Temperature

-8

-8

1946

04/10/13

Kodiak

Low Temperature

15

16

1968

04/11/13

Delta Junction

Low Temperature

-12

-12

1985

04/11/13

Fairbanks

Low Temperature

-21

-17

1955

04/11/13

Valdez

Low Temperature

14

15

1986

04/12/13

Delta Junction

Low Temperature

-12

-10

2002

04/12/13

Fairbanks

Low Temperature

-15

-12

1936

04/12/13

St. Paul

Low Temperature

0

0

2009

04/12/13

Valdez

Low Temperature

13

20

1985

04/13/13

Bettles

Low Temperature

-21

-14

1994

04/13/13

St. Paul

Low Temperature

3

6

1985

04/15/13

Juneau

Low Temperature

24

24

2005

04/19/13

Cold Bay

High Temperature

47

47

2002

04/21/13

Annette

Low Temperature

30

30

1975

04/23/13

Cold Bay

High Temperature

54

52

1979

04/24/13

Cold Bay

High Temperature

54

49

2003

04/26/13

Delta Junction

Low Temperature

9

11

1955

04/27/13

Delta Junction

Low Temperature

11

17

1984

04/28/13

Delta Junction

Low Temperature

3

15

1972

04/28/13

Fairbanks

Low Temperature

2

8

1924

04/29/13

Kodiak

Low Temperature

26

26

1985

04/29/13

Yakutat

Low Temperature

20

22

1967

04/30/13

Annette

Low Temperature

30

30

1954

04/30/13

Cold Bay

Low Temperature

21

28

1982

 

 

Precipitation

April precipitation was slightly lighter than normal with just six of the 20 stations reporting above average totals. The mean value of all 20 stations was calculate to just 4% below normal. Bethel reported the greatest negative deviation with just 4% of the expected value. Rounding out the stations with less than a third of normal totals were: McGrath (18°%), King Salmon (21%), and St Paul (23%). Toping the stations with heavier than normal precipitation was Gulkana with 208% above normal. Next came: Anchorage (119%), Juneau (117%) and Fairbanks (113%). It was the second wettest April in Juneau on record. Details are presented in the following table.

 

Station

Precipitation

Observed
(in)

Normal
(in)

Delta
(in)

Delta
(%)

(%)

Anchorage

1.03

0.47

0.56

119%

219%

Annette

6.56

6.77

-0.21

-3%

97%

Barrow

0.19

0.16

0.03

19%

119%

Bethel

0.03

0.74

-0.71

-96%

4%

Bettles

0.26

0.60

-0.34

-57%

43%

Cold Bay

2.03

2.42

-0.39

-16%

84%

Delta Junction

0.36

0.23

0.13

57%

157%

Fairbanks

0.66

0.31

0.35

113%

213%

Gulkana

0.74

0.24

0.50

208%

308%

Homer

0.52

1.07

-0.55

-51%

49%

Juneau

6.37

2.94

3.43

117%

217%

King Salmon

0.20

0.97

-0.77

-79%

21%

Kodiak

2.57

5.81

-3.24

-56%

44%

Kotzebue

0.31

0.54

-0.23

-43%

57%

McGrath

0.13

0.74

-0.61

-82%

18%

Nome

0.30

0.76

-0.46

-61%

39%

St. Paul Island

0.25

1.08

-0.83

-77%

23%

Talkeetna

0.47

1.29

-0.82

-64%

36%

Valdez

2.90

3.42

-0.52

-15%

85%

Yakutat

8.36

9.19

-0.83

-9%

91%

 

Description: First Order Precipitation

Daily mean precipitation deviation from the normal for the 20 first order stations for April 2013.

 

Snowfall for April was mixed with seven of the sixteen stations reporting heavier then normal snowfall, resulting in an overall mean of 87% above normal. However, much of this positive deviation was from Juneau where more than ten times the normal snow fell during the month. Anchorage (300% above normal) and Fairbanks (241%) topped the elevated snowfall stations. Annette came in at the lowest with 0% of the expected 1.4". Other low total stations were: Bethel (7%), King Salmon (21%) and McGrath (24%). Trace or more of snow was recorded for eight days of the month in Anchorage, twelve in Fairbanks, fourteen in Juneau and nineteen in Barrow. April was the sixth snowiest on record in Juneau, and eighth in Fairbanks.

 

Station

Snowfall

Observed
(in)

Normal
(in)

Delta
(in)

Delta
(%)

(%)

Anchorage

16.0

4.0

12.0

300%

400%

Annette

0.0

1.4

-1.4

-100%

0%

Barrow

5.2

3.2

2.0

63%

163%

Bethel

0.4

5.7

-5.3

-93%

7%

Bettles

10.0

6.3

3.7

59%

159%

Cold Bay

2.1

6.6

-4.5

-68%

32%

Fairbanks

9.9

2.9

7.0

241%

341%

Juneau

12.1

1.1

11.0

1000%

1100%

King Salmon

0.8

3.9

-3.1

-79%

21%

Kodiak

4.6

8.0

-3.4

-43%

58%

Kotzebue

3.1

5.1

-2.0

-39%

61%

McGrath

1.2

5.1

-3.9

-76%

24%

Nome

4.5

7.5

-3.0

-40%

60%

St. Paul Island

2.3

5.7

-3.4

-60%

40%

Valdez

51.1

21.0

30.1

143%

243%

Yakutat

28.3

10.2

18.1

177%

277%

 

A large number of precipitation and snowfall records were set in April; many of them pared together and centered on the storm events of the 8th and 26th. The snowfall on the 9th in Fairbanks broke a record for that day that had been in place since 1934. In Fairbanks there were 18" of snowpack on the 30th, third highest on record for this date, as well above the 1" that would be normal. This April was only the third time that measurable snow has been recorded at the Anchorage Airport at the end of the month. The cold temperatures and prior months heavy snowfall in St. Paul resulted in a mean snow depth for the month of more than nine times normal.

 

 

Precipitation Records

Date

Station

Element

New
Record

Old
Record

Year of
old Record

04/01/13

Cold Bay

Precipitation

0.44

0.33

1976

04/06/13

Anchorage

Snowfall

6.20

3.30

2010

04/06/13

Anchorage

Precipitation

0.33

0.22

2012

04/06/13

Juneau

Snowfall

2.30

0.80

1972

04/08/13

Delta Junction

Precipitation

0.16

0.10

1962

04/08/13

Fairbanks

Snowfall

2.10

2.00

1929

04/08/13

Valdez

Snowfall

19.00

7.40

2001

04/08/13

Valdez

Precipitation

1.09

0.78

1973

04/09/13

Fairbanks

Snowfall

2.60

2.10

1982

04/09/13

Fairbanks

Precipitation

0.16

0.15

1934

04/09/13

Haines Airport

Precipitation

1.08

0.59

2004

04/09/13

Skagway Airport

Precipitation

1.02

0.40

1988

04/10/13

Gustavus

Snowfall

2.30

0.00

2011

04/16/13

Yakutat

Snowfall

10.60

8.70

1985

04/21/13

Kodiak

Snowfall

4.40

2.40

1972

04/23/13

Anchorage

Precipitation

0.28

0.16

1964

04/23/13

Homer

Precipitation

0.35

0.30

1974

04/25/13

Haines Airport

Precipitation

0.90

0.76

2004

04/25/13

Sitka

Precipitation

1.74

1.19

1922

04/26/13

Annex Creek

Precipitation

2.66

0.91

2004

04/26/13

Annex Creek

Snowfall

12.10

0.00

1982

04/26/13

Hollis

Precipitation

0.75

0.67

1957

04/26/13

Juneau

Precipitation

1.36

0.77

1972

04/26/13

Juneau

Snowfall

4.40

0.20

1964

04/26/13

Petersburg

Precipitation

2.94

1.45

1985

04/26/13

Port Alexander

Precipitation

2.41

1.40

1957

04/26/13

Sitka

Precipitation

1.48

0.60

2012

04/26/13

Sitka Observatory

Precipitation

1.61

1.05

1928

04/27/13

Barrow

Precipitation

0.07

0.07

1973

04/28/13

Annex Creek

Precipitation

0.83

0.80

1951

04/28/13

Annex Creek

Snowfall

3.80

0.00

2007

04/28/13

Juneau

Snowfall

1.70

0.90

1972

04/28/13

Petersburg

Precipitation

1.23

0.91

1963

 

Description: 4gvf-1

This infrared satellite image from the National Weather Service shows strong winter systems affecting the Southcentral and Interior portions of Alaska on Tuesday, April 9th, 2013. This late winter storm drove snow and rainfall records across the region.

 

 

Newsworthy Events

High winds and heavy snow impaired traffic on the Steese Highway on the 3rd, while the Taylor Highway opened to traffic for the first time of the year on the 4th, earlier than normal. The late winter storm of the 8th and 9th generated whiteout conditions along the Parks Highway and resulted in school closing in the Mat-Su School District. The Steese Highway was closed again on the 12th due to high winds and blowing snow. After being opened earlier than normal, the Taylor Highway was closed due to snow drifts on the 18th, and only reopened to two lanes on the 21st. The Denali Park road was finally cleared to 30 miles on the 22nd due to cold, snowy April. In Fairbanks three geese made their first arrival at Creamers Field on the 3rd, the second earliest on record (the average date is April 9th). After making an appearance, they left to return when weather conditions improved. At Nenana, the Tanana River ice was still at 51" thick on the 25th when measured by officials with the Nenana Ice Classic; the thickest the ice has been this late in the year in decades.

 

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.