April 2014 Statewide Summary

Alaska Statewide Climate Summary

April 2014

 

Temperature

 

April 2014 temperatures were generally warm across the state, and during the month, with 25 days and 15 of the 20 First Order Stations reporting positive deviations, just four stations recording negative deviations and Valdez absent from this month's summary due to equipment changeover. The month started out continuing the warmer than normal temperatures from March. After the 6th temperatures turned to below normal for five days, then stayed above normal for the remainder of the month. The peak deviation (-10°F) occurred on the 9th. The monthly mean temperature of all First Order Stations was 33.1°F, 2.6°F above the normal of 30.5°F. This is 9.1°F above the April of 2013 mean of 24.0°F, demonstrating how unusually cold April 2013 was. Kotzebue held the greatest positive deviation from normal for April at a significant 8.7°F above its long-term mean of 13.3°F. Stations following Kotzebue with positive deviations equal to or exceeding 5°F: Nome (7.9°F), Bethel (6.9°F), and Cold Bay (5.0°F). It is worth noting that these stations were located in the Western and Bering Sea portions of Alaska. Stations with negative deviations from normal: Annette (‑0.8°), Gulkana (-0.8°F), Yakutat (-0.6°F), and Talkeetna (-0.3°F).

 

The warmest temperature reported for the 20 First Order Stations was 62°F at McGrath on the 27th and 28th. The coldest temperature was ‑28°F at Barrow on the 9th, occurring during the short cold snap. Annette reported the highest mean temperature for the month at 43.4°F, while Barrow reported the coldest at 3.8°F.

 

Station

Temperature

Observed
(°F)

Normal
(°F)

Delta
(°F)

Anchorage

38.1

36.8

1.3

Annette

43.4

44.2

-0.8

Barrow

3.8

1.8

2.0

Bethel

33.8

26.9

6.9

Bettles

24.1

23.3

0.8

Cold Bay

39.0

34.0

5.0

Delta Junction

33.4

32.2

1.2

Fairbanks

33.9

32.5

1.4

Gulkana

31.0

31.8

-0.8

Homer

39.9

37.0

2.9

Juneau

41.0

40.8

0.2

King Salmon

38.1

33.7

4.4

Kodiak

39.2

37.6

1.6

Kotzebue

22.0

13.3

8.7

McGrath

32.2

29.7

2.5

Nome

28.4

20.5

7.9

St. Paul Island

34.0

29.2

4.8

Talkeetna

35.6

35.9

-0.3

Yakutat

37.2

37.8

-0.6

 

 

 

Description: First Order Temperature

Daily mean temperature deviation from the normal temperature for the mean of the first order stations for April 2014.

 

A fairly large number of record temperature events were reported for April, and unsurprisingly, all were new record highs, with no new lows noted. Almost all were set during the second half of the month during the extended warm spell. Bethel had a total of six new records set or tied. Homer had five record high events. St Paul tied the record high mean daily temperature on the 22nd of 39.0°F set in 1979, then broke the highest mean daily temperature on the 30th with 40.0°F that topped the 1981 record of 38.5°F.

 

 

Temperature Records

Date

Station

Element

New
Record

Old
Record

Year of
old Record

04/02/14

Cold Bay

High Temperature

47

46

1981

04/06/14

Homer

High Temperature

48

48

1987

04/12/14

Cold Bay

High Temperature

50

50

1997

04/14/14

Cold Bay

High Temperature

46

46

1979

04/14/14

Homer

High Temperature

52

52

1990

04/15/14

Bethel

High Temperature

47

45

2004

04/15/14

Bettles

High Temperature

47

47

1970

04/15/14

Cold Bay

High Temperature

37

37

1990

04/16/14

Bethel

High Temperature

47

46

1998

04/16/14

St. Paul

High Temperature

41

41

1979

04/17/14

Bethel

High Temperature

48

47

1998

04/17/14

St. Paul

High Temperature

40

40

1991

04/18/14

Bethel

High Temperature

49

49

2010

04/18/14

Nome

High Temperature

43

43

2010

04/20/14

Homer

High Temperature

54

52

1990

04/20/14

King Salmon

High Temperature

59

57

1979

04/20/14

Nome

High Temperature

47

45

1996

04/21/14

Anchorage

High Temperature

56

55

2007

04/21/14

King Salmon

High Temperature

57

54

1979

04/21/14

McGrath

High Temperature

57

57

2008

04/22/14

Anchorage

High Temperature

58

55

1996

04/22/14

Bethel

High Temperature

55

55

1996

04/22/14

Bettles

High Temperature

55

55

1996

04/22/14

Cold Bay

High Temperature

49

49

1964

04/22/14

Homer

High Temperature

52

52

2001

04/22/14

Kotzebue

High Temperature

45

45

1931

04/23/14

King Salmon

High Temperature

56

56

2003

04/26/14

Kotzebue

High Temperature

45

42

1929

04/27/14

Bethel

High Temperature

59

57

1958

04/28/14

Kotzebue

High Temperature

45

41

1988

 

 

Precipitation

 

Precipitation for April was low at just 75% of normal, with only four of the First Order Stations, and five days of the month, reporting above normal values. The greatest daily deviation of 209% occurred on the 7th, during a strong storm impacting the Southcentral region. On a monthly basis, Annette had the greatest positive deviation from normal, with a total of 15.60", or 230% of the expected amount of 6.77" (the third highest April total on record). Following Annette with values at or above 100% of normal were: Barrow (188%), Gulkana (138%), and Kodiak (123%). Leading the stations with lower than normal precipitation totals were Delta Junction and Anchorage with just 9%, and McGrath with 11% of normal, while Homer reported 25% of normal.

 

Station

Precipitation

Observed
(in)

Normal
(in)

Delta
(in)

Delta
(%)

(%)

Anchorage

0.04

0.47

-0.43

-91%

9%

Annette

15.60

6.77

8.83

130%

230%

Barrow

0.30

0.16

0.14

88%

188%

Bethel

0.34

0.74

-0.40

-54%

46%

Bettles

0.38

0.60

-0.22

-37%

63%

Cold Bay

1.87

2.42

-0.55

-23%

77%

Delta Junction

0.02

0.23

-0.21

-91%

9%

Fairbanks

0.20

0.31

-0.11

-35%

65%

Gulkana

0.33

0.24

0.09

38%

138%

Homer

0.27

1.07

-0.80

-75%

25%

Juneau

2.67

2.94

-0.27

-9%

91%

King Salmon

0.52

0.97

-0.45

-46%

54%

Kodiak

7.13

5.81

1.32

23%

123%

Kotzebue

0.21

0.54

-0.33

-61%

39%

McGrath

0.08

0.74

-0.66

-89%

11%

Nome

0.45

0.76

-0.31

-41%

59%

St. Paul Island

0.90

1.08

-0.18

-17%

83%

Talkeetna

1.01

1.29

-0.28

-22%

78%

Yakutat

3.87

9.19

-5.32

-58%

42%

 

 

Description: First Order Precipitation

Daily mean precipitation deviation from the normal for the first order stations for April 2014.

 

 

Snowfall was quite low at just 32% of normal for the 15 stations that reported snowfall. Thirteen of these stations reported below normal values with Annette reporting the relatively lowest value at 0%. Barrow was the only station with a positive deviation of 19% above normal. Fairbanks hit its normal of 2.9".

 

Station

Snowfall

Observed
(in)

Normal
(in)

Delta
(in)

Delta
(%)

(%)

Anchorage

0.4

4.0

-3.6

-90%

10%

Annette

0.0

1.4

-1.4

-100%

0%

Barrow

3.8

3.2

0.6

19%

119%

Bethel

1.0

5.7

-4.7

-82%

18%

Bettles

1.5

6.3

-4.8

-76%

24%

Cold Bay

1.4

6.6

-5.2

-79%

21%

Fairbanks

2.9

2.9

0.0

0%

100%

Juneau

0.3

1.1

-0.8

-73%

27%

King Salmon

0.5

3.9

-3.4

-87%

13%

Kodiak

0.9

8.0

-7.1

-89%

11%

Kotzebue

0.4

5.1

-4.7

-92%

8%

McGrath

0.7

5.1

-4.4

-86%

14%

Nome

3.1

7.5

-4.4

-59%

41%

St. Paul Island

1.0

5.7

-4.7

-82%

18%

Yakutat

5.8

10.2

-4.4

-43%

57%

 

 

The maximum monthly precipitation total reported for the First Order Stations was 15.60" at Annette, which also reported the highest daily total of 3.00" on the 7th. The highest one-day snowfall occurred at Yakutat on the 9th with 5.7Ó, and Yakutat also reported the highest monthly snowfall of 5.8". Bettles topped the stations for the deepest snowpack of 29" on the 13th.

 

Due to the overall low precipitation and snowfall for April, there were limited numbers of daily precipitation records, and most were set on the 7th, in the Southeast during a strong storm. Only one snowfall record was reported in Yakutat.

 

 

 

Precipitation Records

Date

Station

Element

New
Record

Old
Record

Year of
old Record

04/07/14

Haines Airport

Precipitation

0.95

0.55

1986

04/07/14

Juneau

Precipitation

0.80

0.75

2000

04/07/14

Ketchikan

Precipitation

4.67

3.81

2006

04/07/14

Petersburg

Precipitation

3.04

1.41

1978

04/07/14

Sitka

Precipitation

1.18

0.81

2000

04/09/14

Yakutat

Snowfall

5.70

5.40

1975

04/12/14

Kodiak

Precipitation

2.24

1.56

1943

04/13/14

Cold Bay

Precipitation

0.80

0.62

2000

04/23/14

Barrow

Precipitation

0.12

0.10

1904

04/30/14

Annette

Precipitation

2.97

1.77

1982

 

Description: Figure 3

This infrared satellite image from the National Weather Service shows weather pattern affecting the Southeastern portions of Alaska on April 7th, 2014. The storm brought heavy rainfall across the region.

 

 

Newsworthy Events

 

Fields were cleared at Creamers Field on April 2nd in Fairbanks in anticipation of the arrival of the migrating geese. The first two geese were spotted just two days later on the 4th. Later a winter snowstorm on the 7th generated terrible driving conditions in the Fairbanks area. By the 15th, the river ice in the Bethel area was unsafe for driving on. The first 30 miles of the Denali Park Road was open to the public by the 17th, then to mile 92 by the end of the month. This was the quickest snow removal for Denali Park on record. The snowpack at the Fairbanks Airport dropped below an inch on the 23rd, for a total of 168 days of greater than one inch of snowpack for the winter. The average is 186 days. The shorter span for this winter was due to the onset of the permanent ice pack being 19 days later than normal (November 5th, 2013). The Nenana Ice Classic Tripod fell on the 25th. A late winter storm with winds up to 40 mph struck the Dalton highway on the 28th, stranding vehicles due to low visibility and snowdrifts. Early breakup of the icepack on the 29th in the Nome area caused problems for people trying to get gold mining or fishing equipment off the ice before breakup (see figure 4). Denali Park was closed to snow machines by the 30th. Finally, the warm, dry April resulted in increased fire concerns in the Anchorage area by the end of the month.

 

Description: Sea Ice April 29, 2014

This figure shows the sea ice concentration around Alaska on April 29th, 2014. For reference, the ice edge for April 29, 2013 is also included. Data courtesy of the National Ice Center (http://www.natice.noaa.gov)

 

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.