Thursday, June 1, 2023

Cold Start to Summer

The calendar says that climatological summer (by convention) is here, but Alaska is suffering a major seasonal setback.  Residents of the Fairbanks area were sharply reminded of their high latitude this morning, with below-freezing temperatures in many locations.  Here's a map showing some of the low temperatures that occurred earlier today (click to enlarge):

The low temperature at the international airport was 33°F, the coldest this late in the season since early June 2006.  Back then the airport reached 29°F on June 4, which is the June record for the official climate site in Fairbanks.  The air mass was definitely colder in 2006; this morning's balloon sounding from Fairbanks recorded a temperature of -5.9°C at 850mb, but the 2006 cold snap produced -9.3°C at 850mb.

As is typical, other sites around Fairbanks were significantly colder than the airport this morning.  Eielson AFB saw 28°F, and the Goldstream Creek co-op observer measured 23°F.  The Goldstream Creek reading is one of the lowest temperatures on record in the Fairbanks area for the month of June, although again 2006 was colder (and the GC co-op site wasn't operating back then).  Locations in the hills saw temperatures around 20°F on June 4, 2006, the Fairbanks RAWS reported 21°F that day, and the Salcha RAWS saw a remarkable 15°F the next day.

Unusual cold also persists in western Alaska.  I've mentioned Kotzebue a few times recently, but it's remarkable to see that they had a high temperature of only 30°F yesterday, and today it looks like they will fail to break the freezing mark again.  Yesterday was the coldest day this late in the season since 1974 in Kotzebue; and it's been snowing off and on.

Here are a few tweets highlighting snow in both western Alaska and the southeastern interior.


Precipitation amounts have been quite substantial for the central and eastern interior in the past few days - see the estimates below.  This is exacerbating the high water situation for many creeks and rivers, leading to some new flood advisories and warnings.  There's still snowpack on the highest terrain of the interior, although meltout appears to have reached above 3000' elevation near Fairbanks - the Munson Ridge SNOTEL melted out on May 27.

1 comment:

  1. And only 4 more months of Summer until----> Winter. We had a nice month of May for a week.