January 2013 Statewide Summary

Temperature

In a complete reversal from December 2012, January 2013 temperatures were decidedly above normal across the entire state with all twenty first order stations reporting above expected mean temperatures. The average temperature for the entire state for the month was 17.6°F, or 5.6°F above the normal long-term mean of 12.0°F, making January the first month in the last ten to have an above normal average. December 2012 had been unusually cold with a mean temperature of 9.2°F, 5.8°F below the December normal. January 2013 is also in stark contrast to a frigid January 2012 when all twenty first order stations were below normal, with an overall deviation of -14.2°F. Kotzebue topped the stations with the largest deviation at an astonishing 11.5°F above normal. Rounding out the top five stations with significant deviations were: Gulkana (9.8°F), King Salmon (9.3°F), Nome (8.3°F) and Bethel (8.0°F). Temperatures moved like a roller coaster; up and down during the month, with the warmest period around the 14th, and the coldest around the 27th. More details are available in the table and chart below.

 

Station

Temperature

Observed
(°F)

Normal
(°F)

Delta
(°F)

Anchorage

22.4

17.1

5.3

Annette

39.5

37.0

2.5

Barrow

-8.6

-13.4

4.8

Bethel

14.6

6.6

8.0

Bettles

-4.6

-10.0

5.4

Cold Bay

32.9

28.2

4.7

Delta Junction

4.5

-1.0

5.5

Fairbanks

-2.7

-7.9

5.2

Gulkana

6.9

-2.9

9.8

Homer

30.6

24.8

5.8

Juneau

31.3

28.3

3.0

King Salmon

25.5

16.2

9.3

Kodiak

33.1

30.5

2.6

Kotzebue

8.7

-2.8

11.5

McGrath

1.4

-6.5

7.9

Nome

13.5

5.2

8.3

St. Paul Island

25.5

25.1

0.4

Talkeetna

20.6

14.2

6.4

Valdez

26.1

23.7

2.4

Yakutat

31.5

28.1

3.4

 

 

Daily temperature ranges and normals, as well as the deviation from the normal temperature for the mean of the twenty first order stations for January 2013.

 

January's temperature record events tracked along with the general temperature trend, with a new high in McGrath on the 1st during the warm start to the month. This was trailed by a string of high temperature events during the warm-up around the 13th. Finally, King Salmon had a high record event on the 22nd during the last warm spell. No record cold events were reported during the month.

 

 

Temperature Records

Date

Station

Element

New
Record

Old
Record

Year of
old Record

01/01/13

McGrath

High Temperature

47

43

1988

01/12/13

King Salmon

High Temperature

49

45

2003

01/12/13

Homer

High Temperature

47

46

1942

01/13/13

Kotzebue

High Temperature

35

32

1903

01/14/13

Delta Junction

High Temperature

47

40

2002

01/22/13

King Salmon

High Temperature

42

42

1991

 

 

Precipitation

Precipitation for January was higher than normal for much of the State, with only four stations reporting lower than normal values. These stations, in declining order of departures, are: Barrow 46% of normal, Annette (75%), Yakutat (86%), and St. Paul (89%). At the high end were Gulkana with 163% above normal, then Talkeetna (146%), King Salmon (135%), and McGrath (131%). Much of the total precipitation for the month fell between the 11th and 14h of January due to an intense cyclonic system that moved into Alaska. The overall departure could be calculated at 51% above the long-term mean.

 

Station

Precipitation

Observed
(in)

Normal
(in)

Delta
(in)

Delta
(%)

(%)

Anchorage

1.22

0.73

0.49

67%

167%

Annette

8.01

10.73

-2.72

-25%

75%

Barrow

0.06

0.13

-0.07

-54%

46%

Bethel

1.35

0.78

0.57

73%

173%

Bettles

0.91

0.81

0.10

12%

112%

Cold Bay

3.59

3.16

0.43

14%

114%

Delta Junction

0.45

0.31

0.14

45%

145%

Fairbanks

0.79

0.58

0.21

36%

136%

Gulkana

1.21

0.46

0.75

163%

263%

Homer

4.33

2.63

1.70

65%

165%

Juneau

7.70

5.35

2.35

44%

144%

King Salmon

2.40

1.02

1.38

135%

235%

Kodiak

9.53

8.29

1.24

15%

115%

Kotzebue

1.12

0.62

0.50

81%

181%

McGrath

2.52

1.09

1.43

131%

231%

Nome

1.16

0.94

0.22

23%

123%

St. Paul Island

1.41

1.58

-0.17

-11%

89%

Talkeetna

3.34

1.36

1.98

146%

246%

Valdez

10.96

6.58

4.38

67%

167%

Yakutat

11.77

13.66

-1.89

-14%

86%

 

Daily mean precipitation deviation from the normal for the twenty first order stations for January 2013.

 

Snowfall for January was closer to normal for the state than precipitation, partially due to the warmer temperatures; with the average just 9% above normal, and only four stations reporting lower than normal amounts. These stations were Annette with just 7% of the expected value, Yakutat (50%), Juneau (66%), and St. Paul Island (96%). Barrow had much more snow than expected, at 142%, with McGrath (141%), Bethel (139%) and Valdez (138%) rounding out the other four stations reporting considerably more snow than expected. Despite the high snowfall in Anchorage, the total this winter is far eclipsed by the snowfall for the winter of 2011-12, with about 45" less than last winter at the start of the month. Fairbanks was in a similar situation with about a foot deficit at the start of January.

 

Station

Snowfall

Observed
(in)

Normal
(in)

Delta
(in)

Delta
(%)

(%)

Anchorage

14.70

11.30

3.40

30%

130%

Annette

0.50

7.60

-7.10

-93%

7%

Barrow

3.70

2.60

1.10

42%

142%

Bethel

13.30

9.60

3.70

39%

139%

Cold Bay

18.30

14.10

4.20

30%

130%

Fairbanks

9.90

10.30

-0.40

-4%

96%

Juneau

18.20

27.70

-9.50

-34%

66%

King Salmon

13.00

10.20

2.80

27%

127%

Kodiak

13.00

13.00

0.00

0%

100%

Kotzebue

10.80

9.10

1.70

19%

119%

McGrath

22.10

15.70

6.40

41%

141%

Nome

16.50

12.70

3.80

30%

130%

St. Paul Island

13.60

12.60

1.00

8%

108%

Valdez

93.50

67.80

25.70

38%

138%

Yakutat

16.00

31.90

-15.90

-50%

50%

 

A fair number of precipitation and snowfall records were set, a number of them occurring with the strong storm around the above mentioned strong cyclonic activity from the 13th to the 14th. Cold Bay set a record snowfall in the 27th of 4.9", topping out the 3.9" from 2000. The snow continued to come down and the total of 9.9" on the next day completely eclipsed the old record of 1.8" from 2007. The 0.15" of rain recorded on the 14th in Fairbanks was a greatest January rainfall since 1963. In addition, the water equivalent precipitation, which includes the snowfall, of 0.22" for the 14th was a new record for Fairbanks too, just topping the old 2005 record of 0.21".

 

 

Precipitation Records

Date

Station

Element

New
Record

Old
Record

Year of
old Record

01/10/13

St. Paul

Snowfall

2.4

2.1

1992

01/13/13

Kotzebue

Precipitation

0.25

0.24

2000

01/13/13

Valdez

Precipitation

1.91

1.73

1984

01/13/13

Bethel

Snowfall

4.8

3.1

1993

01/13/13

King Salmon

Precipitation

0.33

0.26

1993

01/13/13

Anchorage

Precipitation

0.40

0.23

2009

01/13/13

Homer

Precipitation

0.52

0.45

1981

01/14/13

Fairbanks

Precipitation

0.22

0.21

2005

01/17/13

Anchorage

Snowfall

5.2

2.9

1980

01/19/13

Kodiak

Precipitation

1.59

1.12

2004

01/27/13

Cold Bay

Snowfall

4.9

3.9

2000

01/28/13

Cold Bay

Snowfall

9.9

1.8

1990

01/31/13

Kotzebue

Precipitation

0.12

0.10

2007

01/31/13

Valdez

Precipitation

0.96

0.81

2001

 

 

Newsworthy Events

The big weather news of the month was the tempest around the middle of January that brought storm warnings across large portions of the state, high winds to Southcentral and other locations, and dumped snow and rain across the Southcentral and Interior areas of the state. Flood, blizzard, and storms warnings were issued as appropriate. The storm's deleterious effects on the roads prompted school closures on the Kenai, Anchorage, Mat-Su and Fairbanks. The storm also generated avalanches that slowed traffic along the Seward Highway on the 14th, and delays extended into the next day as crews cleaned up the mess. Severe avalanche warnings were issued for Southcentral from the 9th to after the storm.

 

  Imported from FITS image: 4gvf.fits

This infrared satellite image from the National Weather Service shows strong winter systems affecting the Southcentral and Interior portions of Alaska on Monday, January 14th, 2013. This storm drove snow and rainfall across the region.

 

Other road related weather news included travel advisories along the Dalton on the 1st to the 2nd of the month. Overflows made the Elliot treacherous on the 2nd. The storm on the 13th generated blizzard conditions along the Dalton. Travel advisories were issued for the Richardson and Parks on the 24th. The Richardson ended up being closed for traffic from milepost 181 to 261 due to high winds and drifting snow. The road was reopened on the on the 26th after drifts up to five feet were removed. The Steese was closed at Eagle summit on the 31st, while the bad conditions caused to accidents along the Elliott also on the 31st.

 

Low snowfall had the Yukon Quest organizers worried about poor conditions along the race's trail. Excessive freeze-thaw cycles at Kodiak caused boulders to fall on the main road out of the city on the 24th; causing an accident. Finally, the cold weather on the 27th halted a man's thirdsolo attempt on Mt McKinley.

 

 

 

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.