As Alaska’s urban core speeds toward the end of an unusually warm and dry September, the Centers for Environmental Information are suggesting there is more of the same to come.
“The temperature outlook for October through December 2018 shows that the majority of Alaska and northwest Canada have a 40 to 90 percent chance of above average temperature,” the agency within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports.
And while most of the 49th state is forecast to be wetter than normal through December, Anchorage, the Kenai Peninsula, Wasilla, the southern Susitna-Yentna rivers valley, and the Coast Range mountains to the eastern edge of Prince William Sound fall into “isolated pockets along the coast…(that) have a 40 to 50 percent likelihood of below normal precipitation.”
All of this is probably good news to everyone but those skiers watching the Front Range mountains above Anchorage and wondering why there isn’t more termination dust on the peaks.
The answer to that is pretty simple. The state’s largest city is now more than 6 degrees above normal for September and closing in on 2 inches shy of the normal precipitation.
National Weather Service meteorologists are suggesting a bit of a move back toward normal on Thursday when the forecast calls for the rain, but the strangely friendly weather is supposed to be back by Friday with sunshine and temperatures near or possibly up to 60 expected to continue through the weekend.
Normal temperatures for this time of year in Anchorage are in the low 50s.
All of this comes after a summer that was very average for the central part of the state – where the vast majority of Alaskans live – although warmer for Western and Southeast Alaska. The state capital in Juneau enjoyed its third warmest summer on record.
Kotzebue on the edge of the ice-free Bering Sea tied for the second warmest summer on record, and that warmth continued down the Bering Sea coast all the way to the Aleutian Islands and east to Kodiak and the northern edge of the Kenai.
The bad news was that most of the state – Southeast being an exception – also saw more precipitation than normal. Eagle, a community on the Yukon River in Central Alaska, set a record for rain with just over 11 inches, and rain limited Interior wildfires to 407,000 acres, which was reported to be “well below average.”
The North Slope got the worst of the weather. The region was both wetter than normal and colder than normal as Beaufort Sea ice held fast along the eastern half of the state’s Arctic coast.
With the probability of an El Nino increasing into December, January and February, the North Slope is, however, predicted to go above normal for October through the end of the year.