Wednesday, May 1, 2013

April 2013 in Fairbanks

There is a lot of Alaska weather going on...but we'll try and take it one piece at time.

So, for Fairbanks for April, the mean temperature of 18.0ºF makes this solidly the coldest April since 1924 and the third coldest of record. Only 1924 (14.8ºF) and 1911 (17.4ºF) are colder. For all Interior locations with data from 1924, that month is still the coldest April of record.

The high temperature for the month of 48ºF makes this the first April since 1972 when the temperature failed to get to 50ºF or higher. Two daily record lows were set: 15 below on the 12th and 2 above on the 28th. The record on the 28th was especially notable as only twice as the temperature been lower than this so late in the season. The monthly low of 21 below on the 11th was not a daily record, but was the lowest April temperature since 1992. Daily mean temperatures were below normal every day after the 3rd. Which of course calls for a standardized anomaly plot:

Eight April days had daily anomalies 2.5 or more standard deviations below normal, and the monthly mean of 18.0ºF is a whopping 2.8 standard deviations below the 1981-2010 mean. The mean temperature for March and April combined of 12.5ºF is the coldest since 1972.

Snowfall totaled 9.9", while well above normal, made this only the 4th snowiest April since 1990. Far more unusual was the snowpack; outside of urban areas the snowpack has compacted some but has not really started to melt out at all. At the Airport, the snow depth of 18" on the 30th was the greatest end of April snow cover since 1937. This is not too surprising considering that the accumulated thaw degrees through the end of April is a paltry 3, fewer even than 1924 and 1911; 1937 had just one thaw degree day through the end of April, the lowest of record.

Tomorrow I'll try and gin a some analysis of why it was so cold in April.


  1. let's hope that May will be even colder for the thrill of it.

  2. As always Rick your analyses and perspective are welcomed and appreciated. Where else would Alaskans encounter this information gleaned from a long time WX professional.

    It appears that we are in another prolonged cold period, the duration of which may unfortunately outlive some of us.