Alaska Weather Summary for October 2011

November 11, 2011

 

Temperatures were above normal this October for most of Alaska. Temperature averages more than 4 degrees Fahrenheit above October’s long-term mean were observed in Barrow (5.6 degrees Fahrenheit higher), Fairbanks (4.7 degrees higher), Big Delta (4.3 degrees higher) and King Salmon (4.1 degrees higher). Like the previous 3 months, Barrow reported the largest positive deviation of the nine cities summarized in October. The only lower than average temperatures were observed in Nome (0.7 degrees Fahrenheit lower) and Juneau (0.2 degrees lower). Substantially above normal precipitation was observed in King Salmon (3.25 inches), close to three times the normal of 1.17 inches. Precipitation in Barrow totaled 1.13 inches, again nearly 3 times the normal of 0.41 inches. Other stations reported closer to normal average precipitation, with the following deviations: Ketchikan (26 percent more), Nome (4 percent less), Juneau (14 percent less), Anchorage (16 percent less) and Kodiak (37 percent less). Interior Alaska was notably dry with Fairbanks and Big Delta receiving only 39 percent and 24 percent of the expected amount of precipitation, respectively. 

 

In Fairbanks the average temperature was 28.9 degrees Fahrenheit, a substantial 4.7 degrees above October’s long-term mean. This extends the above normal temperatures observed in September. The high temperature for the month was 57 degrees Fahrenheit on October 2. The lowest temperature of minus 2 degrees Fahrenheit was observed on October 31. Precipitation in October was 0.32 inches water equivalent, far below the monthly average of 0.83 inches. This deficit in precipitation can be also seen from the limited snowfall of 4.2 inches for the month, which is far below the mean value of 10.8 inches for October. The combination of above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation made it a pleasant month. Wind speed averaged 2.5 mph and the highest gust was 32 mph on the October 10. No new temperature or precipitation records were recorded. 

 

Big Delta reported an average temperature of 28.4 degrees Fahrenheit, which is far above the long-term mean temperature of 24.1 degrees for October. The high temperature of the month was observed on October 2 at 54 degrees Fahrenheit. The lowest temperature of minus 3 degrees Fahrenheit occurred on October 31. Precipitation totaled 0.19 inches water-equivalent, far below the normal of 0.80 inches for the month. The precipitation was lower than Fairbanks both in the total amount as well as the deviation from normal. No new temperature or precipitation records were observed. 

 

In Juneau, the average temperature was 42.2 degrees Fahrenheit, very slightly below the long-term mean of 42.4 degrees for 0ctober. The month’s highest temperature of 53 degrees Fahrenheit occurred on October 1. The lowest temperature of 28 degrees occurred on October 3. Precipitation totaled 7.39 inches, which is somewhat below the normal of 8.63 inches. As might be deduced from the high precipitation totals found in the Southeast Alaska, sky cover during the month of October averaged 90 percent. There were no clear days, four partly cloudy days and 27 cloudy days. Average wind speed at Juneau Airport was 8.2 mph with a highest wind gust of a substantial 56 mph on October 25. No new daily temperature or precipitation records were observed. 

 

Anchorage recorded an average temperature of 36.8 degrees Fahrenheit, 2 degrees above the long-term mean. The maximum temperature of 51 degrees Fahrenheit occurred on October 3 and 8. The monthly low of 15 degrees Fahrenheit was observed on October 31. No new records were set, and the observed temperatures followed fairly closely to normal. Precipitation was reported at 1.70 inches, somewhat below the normal of 2.03 inches. The mean monthly cloudiness was relatively high at 70 percent. During the whole month only 2 clear days were observed. An average monthly wind speed of 5.4 mph was recorded and a top gust of 45 mph occurred on October 25. 

 

Nome reported an average monthly temperature in October of 28 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 0.7 degrees less that the long-term mean. The warmest monthly temperature was 44 degrees Fahrenheit and was observed on October 14. The coldest temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit occurred on October 30. The temperatures were seasonally colder at the beginning and end of the month, while they were above normal for middle of the month. No new temperature extremes were observed during October. Precipitation was in the expected range, totaling 1.55 inches, close to the October average of 1.61 inches. However, on October 12 a new record rainfall event occurred producing 0.63 inches of precipitation. This broke the old record of 0.39 inches set in 1944. The average wind speed for the month was 6.5 mph, and the highest gust observed was 32 mph on the October 13.

 

Barrow reported an average temperature in October of 22.8 degrees Fahrenheit, far above the normal of 17.2 degrees. This increase represents the continuing trend of far above normal temperature values of the last two months. A high temperature of 33 degrees Fahrenheit occurred on October 1, 3, and 8. The low temperature of 6 degrees Fahrenheit was observed on October 9, 10 and 29. Seasonally high temperatures occurred during the middle of the month. No new temperature extremes were observed during October. Precipitation in Barrow, which is low in Northern Alaska, totaled 1.13 inches, far exceeding the October average of 0.41 inches. A total of 23.8 inches of snow fell; the greatest single-day amount of 2.5 inches fell on October 4. Trace or more amounts of snow fell on 30 days of the month. The average monthly wind speed was 15.2 mph and a gust of 44 mph occurred on October 16.

 

King Salmon reported an average temperature of 37.6 degrees Fahrenheit, substantially above the long-term mean of 33.5 degrees. The highest temperature in October was 53 degrees Fahrenheit and was recorded on October 1 and 4. The low temperature of 20 degrees Fahrenheit occurred on October 17. No new temperature extremes were reported for the month. The precipitation total was measured as 3.25 inches, which is far above the long-term mean of 1.17 inches. On October 25, 0.91 inches of precipitation were recorded, setting a new record. The old record of 0.54 inches for this specific day was set in 2004.  A total of 6.5 inches of snow was reported for the month, more than half of it (3.4 inches) fell on October 31. Average wind speed was 7.9 mph and the highest gust was recorded at 55 mph on October 14. 

 

Ketchikan’s average temperature of 45.9 degrees Fahrenheit in October was 0.6 degrees above the long-term mean. The highest temperature of the month measured 58 degrees Fahrenheit and was observed on October 3. The low temperature of 33 degrees Fahrenheit occurred on October 14. The temperatures followed fairly closely with the long-term mean of October and no new temperature extremes were observed. Monthly precipitation was measured at 24.13 inches, above the expected amount of 19.22 inches. Of note was 3.47 inches of precipitation on October 29. 

 

Kodiak reported an average temperature of 41.9 degrees Fahrenheit for October. The highest temperature of 54 degrees Fahrenheit occurred on October 4. The lowest temperature of 24 degrees Fahrenheit occurred on October 19. The mean monthly temperature was 1.4 degrees above the long-term mean, but temperatures followed fairly closely the expected values. Precipitation was reported as 5.21 inches, about a third below the long-term value. The mean wind speed for the month was 8.2 mph and on October 25 a gust of 63 mph was recorded, the highest value for the month. The related storm resulted in substantial damage, downing some power lines. In addition, a roof on Mill Bay Road building was blown off. 

 

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. 

 

For more information on weather and climatology, contact the center at 474-7885 or visit the center website here. Please report any errors to webmaster@akclimate.org.