November 2013 Statewide Summary

Alaska Statewide Climate Summary

November 2013

 

Temperature

 

October's warm temperatures continued into the first half of November. Colder than normal temperatures set in on the 16th for five days before a near weeklong warm-up occurred. The end of the month then shifted into colder than normal temperatures once again. The monthly mean temperature for all 20 First Order Stations was 21.2°F, a marginal 1.8°F above the normal of 19.6°F. The most extreme deviation for the month occurred on the 20th at -15.1°F. Fourteen of the 20 First Order Stations reported positive deviations, four below normal while Bettles and Gulkana reported no deviation from the normal. Once again, this month, McGrath held the highest positive deviation from normal at 7.6°F over its long-term mean of 5.5°F. Following McGrath with positive deviations exceeding 3°F were: Barrow (6.8°F), Fairbanks (3.5°F), Cold Bay (3.4°F), Bethel (3.1°F). Stations with negative deviations from normal were: Juneau (-3.0°F), Talkeetna (-3.0°), Yakutat (-1.3°F) and Anchorage (-0.3°F).

 

The warmest temperature reported for the 20 First Order Stations was 59°F at Kodiak on the 14th, a new daily record, and a result of the storm impacting the Southcentral area. The coldest temperature was -42°F at Gulkana on the 20th during the cold snap. Annette, the southernmost station, reported the highest mean temperature for the month at 40.1°F, while Bettles reported the coldest at -1.0°F.

 

Station

Temperature

Observed
(°F)

Normal
(°F)

Delta
(°F)

Anchorage

21.9

22.2

-0.3

Annette

40.1

40.0

0.1

Barrow

7.5

0.7

6.8

Bethel

20.5

17.4

3.1

Bettles

-1.0

-1.0

0.0

Cold Bay

37.9

34.5

3.4

Delta Junction

6.3

6.2

0.1

Fairbanks

6.1

2.6

3.5

Gulkana

5.8

5.8

0.0

Homer

31.6

29.5

2.1

Juneau

30.4

33.4

-3.0

King Salmon

25.1

22.9

2.2

Kodiak

36.1

33.9

2.2

Kotzebue

11.9

9.1

2.8

McGrath

13.1

5.5

7.6

Nome

18.8

16.9

1.9

St. Paul Island

34.7

33.0

1.7

Talkeetna

16.5

19.5

-3.0

Valdez

28.7

28.3

0.4

Yakutat

31.0

32.3

-1.3

 

 

 

Description: First Order Temperature

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

 

A number of daily temperature records were set this November, and unsurprisingly, new record highs outnumbered new record lows by four to one. All three new record lows occurred during the cold spell around the 20th. The new high temperature in Fairbanks of 45°F during the storm of the 14th smashed the record of 40°F that had been in place since 1908.

 

 

 

Temperature Records

Date

Station

Element

New
Record

Old
Record

Year of
old Record

11/03/13

Cold Bay

High Temperature

52

51

1996

11/05/13

Valdez

High Temperature

46

44

2002

11/06/13

Cold Bay

High Temperature

52

49

1986

11/09/13

Barrow

High Temperature

35

32

1978

11/09/13

Cold Bay

High Temperature

55

50

1979

11/10/13

Kotzebue

High Temperature

38

38

1994

11/13/13

Kodiak

High Temperature

54

48

1986

11/14/13

Cold Bay

High Temperature

56

56

1979

11/14/13

Fairbanks

High Temperature

45

40

1908

11/14/13

Kodiak

High Temperature

59

54

1986

11/15/13

Cold Bay

High Temperature

44

40

1986

11/15/13

Kodiak

High Temperature

50

49

1986

11/19/13

Kodiak

Low Temperature

16

16

2007

11/20/13

Delta Junction

Low Temperature

-38

-37

1993

11/21/13

Valdez

Low Temperature

4

6

1993

 

 

Precipitation

 

Precipitation for November was considerably above normal for the state, at 51% above the expected amount. The greatest daily deviation of 600% occurred on the 10th. Sixteen of the 20 stations reported above normal values, while just four coastal stations reported values below normal;. These are, in ascending order, Homer with 51% of the expected value, Kodiak (52%), Yakutat (53%), and Cold Bay (90%). Bettles had the greatest positive deviation from normal, with 2.79", or 207% above the expected amount of 0.91". Following Bettles with deviations at or above 100% were: Fairbanks (160%), and Gulkana (150%) and Barrow (100%).

 

 

 

Station

Precipitation

Observed
(in)

Normal
(in)

Delta
(in)

Delta
(%)

(%)

Anchorage

1.94

1.16

0.78

67%

167%

Annette

13.40

12.29

1.11

9%

109%

Barrow

0.42

0.21

0.21

100%

200%

Bethel

2.49

1.60

0.89

56%

156%

Bettles

2.79

0.91

1.88

207%

307%

Cold Bay

4.50

4.98

-0.48

-10%

90%

Delta Junction

0.96

0.63

0.33

52%

152%

Fairbanks

1.74

0.67

1.07

160%

260%

Gulkana

1.80

0.72

1.08

150%

250%

Homer

1.43

2.79

-1.36

-49%

51%

Juneau

6.69

5.99

0.70

12%

112%

King Salmon

2.61

1.39

1.22

88%

188%

Kodiak

3.60

6.87

-3.27

-48%

52%

Kotzebue

1.22

0.77

0.45

58%

158%

McGrath

1.42

1.41

0.01

1%

101%

Nome

1.68

1.22

0.46

38%

138%

St. Paul Island

3.69

2.89

0.80

28%

128%

Talkeetna

2.58

1.63

0.95

58%

158%

Valdez

10.57

5.64

4.93

87%

187%

Yakutat

7.68

14.45

-6.77

-47%

53%

 

 

Description: First Order Precipitation

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

 

 

Snowfall was somewhat above normal (13%) for the 16 stations that report snowfall. This is less than the overall precipitation deviation due higher temperatures causing a higher percentage to fall as rain. As above, Bettles topped the stations with positive deviations at 135% above normal. St Paul came in on the low side with just 33% of the expected snowfall.

 

 

Station

Snowfall

Observed
(in)

Normal
(in)

Delta
(in)

Delta
(%)

(%)

Anchorage

11.2

13.1

-1.9

-15%

85%

Annette

5.7

3.5

2.2

63%

163%

Barrow

7.6

5.7

1.9

33%

133%

Bethel

6.9

12.9

-6.0

-47%

53%

Bettles

37.8

16.1

21.7

135%

235%

Cold Bay

3.6

10.2

-6.6

-65%

35%

Fairbanks

17.6

13.2

4.4

33%

133%

Juneau

18.9

13.1

5.8

44%

144%

King Salmon

11.6

6.9

4.7

68%

168%

Kodiak

7.3

6.4

0.9

14%

114%

Kotzebue

10.8

10.5

0.3

3%

103%

McGrath

11.4

19.3

-7.9

-41%

59%

Nome

13.0

12.1

0.9

7%

107%

St. Paul Island

2.7

8.3

-5.6

-67%

33%

Valdez

80.4

42.8

37.6

88%

188%

Yakutat

9.2

18.2

-9.0

-49%

51%

 

 

The maximum precipitation total reported for the 20 First Order Stations was 13.40" at Annette, while Valdez reported the highest daily total of 3.38" on the 22nd. The highest one-day snowfall also occurred at Valdez on the 10th with 24.4", and Valdez went on to report the highest monthly snowfall of 80.4". Unsurprisingly, Valdez also topped the stations for the deepest snowpack of 37" on the 24th.

 

A fair number of daily record precipitation and snowfall events were set in November, occurring throughout the month, but most were set during the storm events from the 11th to 15th and 22nd to 25th. The record precipitation in Anchorage in the 11th set not only a daily record, but is also the highest daily precipitation for any day in November, breaking the old record of 1.16" from November 18th, 1964. By the end of November, Valdez’s 2013 yearly precipitation total was 94.78", breaking the 1981 record of 93.3", and the year is not yet over.

 

 

 

Precipitation Records

Date

Station

Element

New
Record

Old
Record

Year of
old Record

11/05/13

Annex Creek

Snowfall

6.00

5.00

1971

11/05/13

Juneau

Precipitation

0.84

0.77

1955

11/10/13

Anchorage

Precipitation

1.27

0.77

1981

11/10/13

Delta Junction

Precipitation

0.41

0.31

1994

11/10/13

Valdez

Snowfall

24.40

19.10

1994

11/10/13

Valdez

Precipitation

2.10

1.77

1976

11/11/13

Valdez

Precipitation

2.31

1.67

1979

11/13/13

Fairbanks

Precipitation

0.62

0.53

1950

11/13/13

Kotzebue

Precipitation

0.28

0.19

1993

11/13/13

Nome

Precipitation

0.37

0.34

2000

11/14/13

St. Paul

Precipitation

1.12

0.53

1968

11/21/13

Juneau

Snowfall

10.00

7.20

1958

11/21/13

King Salmon

Precipitation

0.48

0.31

2003

11/21/13

King Salmon

Snowfall

5.10

0.80

1956

11/21/13

Petersburg

Snowfall

11.00

4.00

1960

11/22/13

Valdez

Snowfall

20.40

14.50

1987

11/22/13

Valdez

Precipitation

3.48

1.53

2002

11/23/13

King Salmon

Snowfall

3.60

3.60

1991

11/24/13

Valdez

Snowfall

14.70

10.40

1993

11/27/13

Ketchikan

Precipitation

4.39

3.54

1989

 

 

 

Description: 4gvf

This infrared satellite image from the National Weather Service shows strong storm system affecting the Western and Interior portions of Alaska on November 12th-13th, 2013. The storm generated extensive damage across the region.

 

 

Newsworthy Events

 

November started off with a freezing rain in Fairbanks on the 1st. Then a major storm impacted the western portion of the state on the 5th, moving quickly with high winds, a gust of 81 mph was reported at Adak. Also on the 5th, heavy snow made for slow going over Eagle Summit on the Steese Highway. Fairbanks’ first subzero temperature arrived on the 7th, later than the normal of October 26th. Bolio Lake south of Delta Junction saw -31°F that day. On the 9th the first snowfall hit Anchorage, and this is the 6th latest date for Anchorage to have its first measureable snowfall since 1930. The snow turned to freezing rain and generated a number of vehicle accidents. The 10th saw quite a bit of snow in the Interior, with up to 11" in the Fairbanks area. High winds of up to 60 mph made driving on the Dalton Highway difficult. Delays were experienced as road crews worked to clear the road at Atigun pass. Southcentral total snowfall for the storm was higher, with more than three feet in Hatcher Pass (where hikers had to be rescued by helicopter), 24.2" in Valdez (a new record) and 6" in midtown Anchorage. This storm had its greatest effects in parts of coastal western Alaska, with significant damage in villages such as Kotlik and Unalakleet.

 

The weather event of the month started on the 12th with another storm slamming into western Alaska, pushing floodwaters and high winds into villages along the Norton Sound area. Water and sewer lines above ground, roads and communication towers as well as buildings were among the infrastructure damaged. The storm dropped rain, snow and 'frizzle' (freezing drizzle) in the Interior. What was very unusual is that it was raining at a temperature of 10°F. This was followed by record high temperature and high winds, up to 83 mph, that resulted in many downed trees and widespread power outages across the Fairbanks area. Up to a third of the residents were without power for up to a week, even as additional electrical workers were brought up from Anchorage. Schools in the Fairbanks Borough were closed for three days. Power outages extended throughout the Interior. The Southcentral was not spared the storm's wrath with freezing rain and terrible road conditions. Fairbanks area stores were sold out of generators as residents tried to cope. The impact of the loss of electricity became acute as temperatures plummeted following the storm. Fairbanks saw -33°F on the 21st and -50°F was recorded at Chicken and Tok. The Governor declared disaster declarations for the areas in western Alaska and the Interior with substantial damage from the storm.

 

While temperatures dropped in the Interior, Southcentral and Southeast endured another storm on the 21st with gale level warnings for coastal areas in Cook Inlet, blizzard warnings for Prince William Sound, and winter storm warnings in Southeast. Girdwood and Seward schools were closed. The resulting road conditions were atrocious and many auto accidents were reported in the Southcentral area. As the storm pushed inland on the 22nd, high winds of over 60 mph and snowdrifts were impacting driving near Delta Junction, Denali National Park, higher elevations of the Steese Highway and portions of the Dalton Highway.

 

More snow dumped on the Interior on the 27th, with high winds, drifting snow and avalanches all impacting driving on the Dalton Highway. Dropping temperatures (‑41°F at Fort Yukon) at the end of the month slowed the roller-coaster spectacle that was the weather of November 2013.

 

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 August 2011.