A Warm Winter in Alaska

By: Christopher C. Burt , 7:27 PM GMT on April 18, 2014

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A Warm Winter in Alaska

In contrast to much of the contiguous U.S., the National Weather Service (NWS) in Alaska noted in a post this week that Alaska has enjoyed its third warmest ‘winter’ on record for 2013-2014. The period of time they are calling ‘winter’ is for the six months of October 2013 through March 2014. Here are a few details.

According to the NWS statement, statewide it was the 3rd warmest October-March period for Alaska surpassed only by the October-March periods of 2000-2001 and 2002-2003. For some sites it was actually the warmest such period on record. This was the case for Barrow, Kotzebue, McGrath, and Cold Bay. All of the state was much milder than normal except for the Southeastern Panhandle where temperatures were normal to slightly below normal.



Map of various sites in Alaska and how each ranked in terms of being the mildest October-March period for their respective POR’s. Southeastern Alaska (which was not included on the map) experienced normal to slightly below normal temperatures. Map from NWS-Alaska.

For the four sites that recorded their warmest October-March period on record (Barrow, Kotzebue, McGrath, and Cold Bay) here are the statistics:





For Cold Bay, the last month with a below normal than average temperature was May 2013. For Barrow, Kotzebue, and McGrath, September 2013 was the last such.

The mild winter in Alaska is in sharp contrast to that in the eastern portions of the contiguous U.S. where Marquette, Michigan just observed a -5°F temperature on April 16th: its coldest such reading for so late in the season and also the latest date for a zero or below temperature ever observed. As of April 17th some 28” of snow still lies on the ground (18.3” of which fell in the past four days). Additionally, Lake Superior is clogged by the most ice (34% coverage) for this time so late in the season since accurate measurements of such began in 1973.

KUDOS: Thanks to Rick Thoman of NWS-Fairbanks for bringing this to my attention.


Christopher C. Burt
Weather Historian

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7. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
6:59 PM GMT on April 22, 2014
weatherhistorian has created a new entry.
5. nigel20
4:08 AM GMT on April 21, 2014
Thanks Christopher!
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 7888
4. pcola57
12:46 AM GMT on April 21, 2014
Thanks Chris for the Alaska winter update..
Many folks there experience the growing AGW effects on their pristine world..
I consider Alaska our barometer in this Hemisphere..
Thanks again..
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6779
3. BaltimoreBrian
7:13 PM GMT on April 19, 2014
Quoting 2. bjrabbit:

Doesn't a warm winter in Alaska go hand-in-hand with a colder winter in the lower 48?
Almost always yes. The winter of 1917-1918 was very cold in both Alaska and the lower 48.
Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 26 Comments: 8558
2. bjrabbit
1:58 PM GMT on April 19, 2014
Doesn't a warm winter in Alaska go hand-in-hand with a colder winter in the lower 48?
Member Since: March 16, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 100
1. Patrap
1:48 AM GMT on April 19, 2014
The Warmth in Alaska dosen't even get a Blip in the Main Media channels. I mean, I'd have a CBS reporter up there hitting the Air Waves LIVE with Old Salty Folks with the true tales from the edge of AGW forcing's in play..in the US.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127702

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About weatherhistorian

Christopher C. Burt is the author of 'Extreme Weather; A Guide and Record Book'. He studied meteorology at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison.