Summer-like warmth has suddenly arrived in interior Alaska, and with plenty of snow still in place across the higher hills, creeks and rivers are in flood. Fairbanks recorded 82°F on Sunday and 80°F yesterday; this is only the second time in the modern climate record (1930-present) that more than one day has reached 80°F before May 20. The other time was the ridiculous early heat wave of 1995 (88°F on May 11).
Looking at the SNOTEL snowpack data up on Munson Ridge (east of Fairbanks at 3100' elevation), there's a long way to go to eliminate the very substantial snowpack: more than 12" of liquid equivalent water remains at this time. The massive snowpack accumulation in late winter really was remarkable: as the chart below demonstrates, the snowpack went from being only modestly above normal in mid-March to nearly twice the normal amount just one month later. It didn't reach the excess of 2018, which I reported on here, but it's an impressive snowpack nonetheless (click to enlarge).
I've commented before on the fact that above-normal snowpack has become the norm in recent years - where "normal" is defined as the 1981-2010 median. The winter before last (2018-19) turned out to be the first below-normal snowpack in the Chena Basin since 2009-10, although it was barely below normal on April 1.
So with this winter now in the books, it's been 10 consecutive winters without a seriously deficient snowpack in this part of Alaska. But of course the same is not true elsewhere; the Kenai peninsula had a dry winter this year, and my impression (although I haven't examined the data) is that the low-snow theme has been as dominant there as the excess snow near Fairbanks. Here's the April 1 snowpack map from NRCS:
And here are the SNOTEL sites that contributed to the above basin-wide analysis: