Tag Archives: weather

“Every Man Knew” by David Conklin; Photo credit: Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum

The Return of the Lights

Graphic credit: NWS/NOAA

As we slide into the Dark Abyss that is winter, there is one phenomenon that makes up for our shortened days: The Northern Lights.

With a geomagnetic storm in progress, and a forecast of clear skies, the first aurora of the season may be visible over the cabin in the next few days.


’67 Flood

Aerial photo of Fairbanks after the Chena River overflowed its banks

This week is the 55th Anniversary of the Great Flood of 1967 that hit Fairbanks. The first half of August that year saw near continuous rainfall, that eventually was too much for the Chena and Tanana Rivers to hold back.

Downtown Fairbanks in August of 1967

At its peak, 95% of Fairbanks was under water. Over 6000 homes and businesses were a total loss, and as many sustained damage. Eight people lost their lives due to the flooding.


Frozen Chicken

Graphic credit: NWS-Fairbanks

Falling short of 90

Map credit: NOAA/ACCAP

Even though Alaska had a warm and very dry start to summer, the state has not seen 90F yet. although some recording stations have hit 89F. A few northern locations in the Yukon and Northwest Territories broke the 90 degree mark, but none in Alaska.


Meanwhile, north of the Brooks Range…

UAF’s Toolik Field Station

A season in the life of a trail cam

Early September
Late September
Early November
Start of the Solstice Storm
A bit snowy
Winter Solstice afternoon
Evening on the Winter Solstice
Snow packed lens
Lens starting to break free of ice and snow
Late January visitor
February; The sun begins to return, and moose tracks

Dead battery….


A very dry June

Map by @Climatologist49

The months of May and June in 2022 were the driest, statewide, on record. The period of January through June was the fifth warmest on record. Amazing, considering the staggering amount of snow we had, up to New Year’s. The tap was simply shut off.

The Clear Fire; Photo credit: Alaska Fire Service

So far in the 2022 fire season, Alaska has seen 2.74 million acres burn. The Clear Fire, near Anderson, Alaska and the Clear Air Force Base, is now pushing 70,000 acres and is right up to the Space Force Base boundaries. It is one of three fires that account for most of the smoke driven towards Fairbanks.

Fires over 50,000 acres; Map credit: Alaska Fire Service

With the 2.74 million acres burned, we have passed the entire 2019 fire season, and 2022 is already the 8th largest season in acres burned.

Water drop over the Clear Fire; Photo credit: Alaska Fire Service

I included the final photo simply because I love the image. Kudos to the Fire Service Photographer who captured it.


Wildfire Update:

Current wildfires over 100,000 acres; Map credit: Alaska Fire Service

The state of Alaska currently has over 225 wildfires burning within its borders and over 1000 firefighters battling the blazes. So far this fire season, over 2 million acres have burned, which is the earliest date to hit that milestone in the past two decades.

Wildfire acreage; Graph credit: ACCAP

A red flag warning has been in effect throughout Interior Alaska, and fireworks were banned over the weekend. The Borough implemented a $1000 fine for anyone caught setting off fireworks, which did make for a relatively quiet 4th of July.

Nature ignored the fines however, as we have had a very active few days of lightning. Between June 28 and July 4th, the state had 25,000 strikes, and Tuesday alone saw another 4500 lightning strikes, which started 13 new wildfires.

I have not seen the final numbers for June, but the month was expected to contend with the driest Junes on record statewide. Which is saying something, as it’s a pretty big state.


Smoke moving in

Western Alaska wildfires; Image credit: UAF/GINA

Most of the wildfires burning in Alaska right now are near the coast, but smoke from those fires have finally made its way into Interior Alaska. The sun was a bright orange pumpkin on Sunday morning.

The largest wildfire right now is the East Fork Fire near the community of St Marys. At 122,000 acres burned, it is the largest tundra fire since 2007, and the second largest in the past 40 years. St Marys is being evacuated, and the fire is now threatening other communities. The fire was started by lightning.

BLM/AFS Situational Report; Graphic credit: BLM/AFS

According to the BLM and Alaska Fire Service, Alaska has seen 314,057 acres burned so far this fire season. That is particularly note worthy, since it is already more than the entire season in 2020 and 2021.

As for the Interior, Fairbanks has now gone 25 days without measurable rainfall. It is a rare summer dry streak, as we have only seen two years with more: 1947 (28 days) and 1957 (26 days).