Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Cold Snow

It's never too cold to snow. However, sometimes the fact that it snows with extreme cold temperatures is a little surprising. Here is a list of the coldest daily average temperature for several snow thresholds. The amount of the threshold is in the far lefthand column. If there are two entries for that threshold, it means the first entry represents a questionable value. If the station name is hyperlinked, that means the scanned cooperative form will display when clicked. I QC'd all the forms and added some notes in the far right column. For example, the coldest daily temperature when over 3"+ of snow fell was in Nabesna on 1/28/1989. The daily average temperature was -42.0°F. I need to do some more research on the Trims Camp station. It is on the Richardson Highway near the Pipeline. Their season average for snow was 270".

Threshold Station Date Max Min Ave Precip Snow Notes
>=1.0" ALLAKAKET 12/22/1911 -53 -59 -56.0 0.14 1.5 Rampart has a low of -48 that day.
>=2.0" RAMPART 1/14/1906 -29 -58 -43.5 0.23 2.5 Univ. Exp. St. had low of -57 with 0.10 precip.
>=3.0" NABESNA 1/28/1989 -36 -48 -42.0 0.3 3.5 Brutal cold snap.
>=4.0" UNIVERSITY EXP STN 12/30/1974 -30 -51 -40.5 0.35 4.0 Fairbanks only recorded 0.1" but 4.0" on 12/31/74.
>=4.0" CIRCLE CITY 1/29/1984 -34 -45 -39.5 0.32 4.0 Seems Reasonable
>=6.0" STRELNA 1/24/1924 -22 -47 -34.5 M 6.0 No form available. Near Chitina. Most of Southeast received heavy snow. Questionable.
>=6.0" DOT LAKE 12/25/1965 -28 -40 -34.0 0.5 6.0 Seems like a good observation. Very wet day in much of AK.
>=9.0" TANANA CALHOUN MEM AP 1/9/1932 -21 -38 -29.5 0.36 10.0 Questionable. Holy Cross only other city over 2".
>=9.0" TRIMS CAMP 3/3/1971 -20 -31 -25.5 1.47 19.5 Very cold and snowy period. High winds. Drifting? Station averages 270" per year.


  1. Trims Camp comments from a former five year Delta Jct. resident...it's a long time Alaska Road Commission, Highway Department, DOT maintenance facility. Located adjacent to the Delta River and several nearby glaciers (Black Rapids, Castner), it's in a real bad spot for weather.

    It blows from all directions, and unlike Delta Jct., often doesn't receive the benefits of downslope adiabatic drying. Lots of the winter precip is blown into the site from nearby terrain and via the river valley. Nasty place at times subject to frequent winter whiteouts.


    1. Thanks Gary. I have only driven through there in the summer but thought to myself that it must be an adventure in the winter. Here is a Google Streetview image of the location: http://goo.gl/S0TUnr

    2. You'd enjoy the hiking and scenic vistas available in that area. It's truly beautiful country most days, with a rich history of occupation and abundance of fish and game.


      Jim Rearden's book about Frank Glaser discusses the country: