Alaska Weather Summary - November 2012

December 12, 2012


Statewide temps for November 2012, AlaskaTemperature

Throughout much of November, colder than normal temperatures settled in across most of Alaska. The majority of the month was below normal with the exception of a six-day spread starting November 9 when temperatures were above normal. The two stations with the largest negative deviation were Gulkana and Delta Junction, both with minus12.7 degrees Fahrenheit, then came Fairbanks with minus 1.4 degrees and Bettles with minus 8 degrees. Only three first-order stations had positive deviations in temperature: Barrow (5.2 degrees), Annette (1.5 degrees), and Kodiak (0.5 degrees). The mean temperature for the entire state for November was 15.2 degrees Fahrenheit or minus 4.4 degrees below the normal long-term mean of 19.6 degrees Fahrenheit. November was the seventh month in a row with a mean below normal. 




Precipitation for the state was generally below normal and there were only four days of November where the first order stations collectively reported above normal totals. In addition, only four of the first-order stations reporting positive deviations of normal for the month: Barrow (129 percent), Gulkana (18 percent), King Salmon (15 percent), and Annette (1 percent). Some areas in Alaska tended to be much drier than normal and the first-order stations with the driest conditions were Bettles (0 percent), Nome (2 percent), Kotzebue (9 percent), and Valdez (18 percent) of normal. Due to these low values, the mean precipitation of the state was a mere 62 percent compared to normal.


As with the precipitation, snowfall followed the same pattern, with a mean snowfall of 6.13 inches or a mere 54 percent of normal. Barrow recorded 14.8 inches of snowfall or 160 percent above normal. The only other two stations with more snow than normal were Juneau with 15.4 inches (18 percent more than normal) and Kodiak with 7.5 inches (17 percent more). Annette and Bettles had the greatest negative deviation in snowfall compared to normal, receiving no snow whatsoever compared to the 3.5 inches and 16.1 inches respectively, that are typical for the areas. Following that, Bethel received a mere 0.7 inches or 12.2 inches less than normal. Nome (0.2 inches) reported 11.9 inches less, and Kotzebue (0.9 inches) received 9.6 inches less.


Newsworthy Events

Due to the cold temperatures in November, air quality was poor for Fairbanks and North Pole. The use of wood stoves increased and idling cars contributed to the pollution level. Furthermore, the first cold spell with ice fog occurred towards the end of the month. The first cold snap of the season hit Fairbanks at the end of November and continued on into December.


Despite the overall lack of snow during the month, a snowstorm at the beginning of the month closed the Steese and Dalton highways for a day, due to both wind and drifting snow. The same thing happened toward the middle of the month. The lack of snow has affected skiers and snowmachiners, keeping two-thirds of the ski runs closed in November. The lack of snow and the fierce winds at the end of the month in Palmer helped spread a rare winter wildfire, forcing the evacuation of residents from about a dozen homes in a subdivision before the fire could be contained.


In contrast to October, record temperature events for November were fairly sparse. Ketchikan started the month off with a new record low of 21 degrees Fahrenheit, breaking the old record of 24 degrees from 1984. Valdez set a new low temperature of 7 degrees on November 2, which was three degrees colder than the previous record set in 2011. On the 24th, Cold Bay tied the record low temperature set in 1976 of 16 degrees Fahrenheit. Tok's low of minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit on the 29th broke the 1963 record low of minus 46 degrees. Finally, on November 9 in King Salmon, the record high temperature of 50 degrees, originally set in 1993, was tied.