Monday, May 9, 2022

Spring Snow

An unusual late spring snowfall is today's story in the central interior, with several inches reported at higher elevations around Fairbanks.  As usual for out-of-season snows, elevation dependence was substantial; Rick Thoman reported 1.7" in South Fox (1000' elevation), but 5" was measured on Keystone Ridge (1600').

Rick also notes that the 4.5" that fell in Denali NP is the greatest this late in the season since the remarkable May snows of 1992 (when over 25" fell there, and 14" in Fairbanks).

Here are a couple of webcam shots from Cleary Summit (2200') above Fairbanks early this morning:

The latest accumulating snow on record in Fairbanks appears to be 1.2" on June 2, 1931, and that was two weeks later than the next latest inch-or-more (May 18, 1943).  However, just a few years ago there was a June 1st snowfall around Salcha and Delta Junction:

And just last year Bettles (much farther north of course) saw a couple of inches on May 19:

Spring is something of a fitful and precarious undertaking in interior Alaska.



  1. Per an earlier comment re December's ice affecting ground dwelling small customary and traditional spots few to none overwintering nests were observed. Dandelion roots (a favorite food) went relatively unconsumed. A couple of vole carcasses were found by my Airedale. Now with this latest snow/rain event it can't be good for them or those that depend on them for food.

    1. I remember well your earlier comment, Gary. I imagine the negative impacts of the difficult winter will be quite long-lived in some of these animal communities.

  2. I might add that there was 1-2" of solid ice on top of soils during the recent melt in Fairbanks. Low spots received localized ponding and correspondingly had thicker ice from rain water that penetrated the snow cover during the winter. Not good for ground dwellers.