Alaska Statewide Weather Summary, November 2013

December 19, 2013

infrared satellite image of Alaska and storms in state on November 12-13, 2013November started off with freezing rain in Fairbanks on the 1st. Then a major storm impacted the western portion of the state on the 5th and moved quickly with high winds. During that storm, a gust of 81 mph was reported at Adak. November 5 also brought heavy snow over Eagle Summit on the Steese Highway. Fairbanks’ first subzero temperature arrived on the 7th. This occurred later than the normal of October 26. Bolio Lake, south of Delta Junction, saw minus 31 degrees Fahrenheit on that date. The first snowfall hit Anchorage on November 9. This was the sixth latest date for the city to receive its first measurable snowfall since 1930. The snow turned to freezing rain and generated a number of vehicle accidents. November 10 saw quite a bit of snow in the Interior, with up to 11 inches 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. Valdez received 24.2 inches, a new record, and 6 inches of snow was reported in midtown Anchorage. The storm had its greatest effects in parts of coastal western Alaska, with significant damage in villages such as Kotlik and Unalakleet.

 

November 12 experienced another storm that slammed western Alaska, pushing floodwaters and high winds into villages along the Norton Sound. Water and sewer lines above ground, roads, communication towers and buildings were among the infrastructure damaged as a result. The storm dropped rain, snow and “frizzle” (freezing drizzle) in the Interior. Although it was 10 degrees Fahrenheit, it rained. Record high temperatures and high winds, up to 83 mph, that resulted in downed trees and widespread power outages across the Fairbanks area, followed this. Up to one-third of Fairbanks residents were without power for up to a week, even as additional electrical workers were brought up from Anchorage. Schools in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District were closed for three days. Power outages extended throughout the Interior. Fairbanks stores sold out of their supply of generators as residents tried to cope with the power loss. The impact of the loss was acute as temperatures plummeted following the storm. Fairbanks experienced minus 33 degrees Fahrenheit, while Chicken and Tok recorded minus 50 degrees on November 21. Disaster declarations were issued for areas in western Alaska and the Interior by the Governor. 

 

Southcentral wasn’t spared from the storm's wrath. The region received freezing rain and terrible road conditions. 

 

While temperatures dropped in the Interior, Southcentral and Southeast endured another storm on the 21st. This storm brought 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 Southcentral. As the storm pushed inland on the 22nd, high winds greater than 60 mph and snowdrifts were impacting driving near Delta Junction, Denali National Park, and higher elevations of the Steese Highway and portions of the Dalton Highway.

 

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

 

Read the remainder of this summary at the Alaska Climate Research Center's site here.

 

IMAGE CAPTION/CREDIT: This infrared satellite image shows a strong storm system affecting Western and Interior Alaska November 12-13, 2013. The storm generated extensive damage across the regions. National Weather Service image.