Monday, December 27, 2021

Historic Winter Rain

In the recorded history of Alaska climate, January 1937 has often stood out to me as an amazing extreme of winter precipitation in Fairbanks.  In that month, 6.7" of liquid-equivalent precipitation fell, making it by far the wettest winter month on record, and one of the wettest calendar months for any time of year.  An onslaught of both rain and snow occurred in two waves that month, with the second round dropping 3.2" of precipitation in 3 days.

Prior to the events of the last two days, the January 1937 outcome was almost unimaginable, but remarkably after 85 years we have now seen something of a similar order of magnitude.  There will be much to write about, but for now the 48-hour precipitation totals speak for themselves - see below, and click to enlarge.  If only one or two sites had reported totals like this, they would have been dismissed out of hand, with an assumption of instrument malfunction; but it seems to me that the consistency between ASOS and SNOTEL tipping buckets as well as the high-quality CRN weighing gauge (3.10" in the bottom image below) provide a strong case for the extraordinarily large amounts being real.

More blog posts to come, and I invite readers to comment with any and all personal observations, measurements, or experiences from the storm.

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