Matanuska Valley Creeks:
February 1: Seven hours forty six minutes of daylight, (9:20 am - 5:07 pm)
October 1: Eleven hours twelve minutes of daylight, (8:11am-7:23pm)
What a difference a month makes. August set records for record heat and dry then September set the record as the coolest and wettest September on record; the third wettest month ever, three different days set a record for the most precipitation in a 24 hour period. Once it started raining it rained with nine straight days that some sort of precipitation fell. Anchorage and Southcentral Alaska were under flood warnings for several days with all local streams busting their banks. Saturday September 25 found Anchorage blanketed under 6” of snow on the ground with the local mountains receiving more than two feet. Just a couple days later another few inches befell Anchorage. And reports are its not over and October could continue the run of wet weather.
Is there ice? You betcha! Its mostly a veneer of clear verglas but the ice is thick enough to be seen and of course scratched up for those who are committed. Several streaks were reported up Eagle River and Ram Valley. Ptarmigan is showing signs of white streaks forming seen during the breaks in the weather and clouds. Triangle Peak is ready for a go but with the snow fall and weather its wise to wait for stability. After the bleak summer it looks like all things are setting up for a spectacular cicle season.
September 15: Twelve hours Fifty-four minutes of daylight, (7:26am-8:21pm)
After a record setting hot dry summer, fall arrived on time with the start of the State Fair and rain, high school prep football, termination dust, frost and color changing leaves with the smell of decomposing flora filling the air. The massive high pressure system that dominated the whole state of Alaska’s weather for two months finally got pushed on into Canada. Anchorage set several temperature records this summer; the all time high 87°F, the all time high for August 81°F and 46 days above 70°F. Not only did this high pressure system set high temperature records, it dropped Alaska and Anchorage 4-5” below normal precipitation. Fresh water streams shrunk to mere trickles of their normal flowing level while glacier fed streams rose high within their banks. Over six million acres of Alaska burned with fires this summer along with many houses and buildings in the Fairbanks area. Smoke filled the air pushing the air quality from poor to dangerous and when normally Alaskans are driving the roads in 20 hours of daylight, the heavy smoke required headlights to be on even during mid day. Summer wild fires burned 6.4 million acres by 655 individual wild fires in which there are 75 wild fires still buring. On July 15 9,022 separate lightning strikes hit the ground in the interior.
The Alaska State Fair the last week of August usually signals the start of fall and even after a record setting hot summer, this year was no exception. In a matter of two days, we went from temperatures into the 70°Fs to rain and wind meeting fair goers the opening day of the Fair August 28 with termination dust falling on the distant high peaks reminding that fall and winter is close. September 2 brought termination dust on the local Anchorage hillside down to around the 4000’ level signaling it will be six weeks to the first measurable snow fall (1 inch) in the Anchorage Bowl. The following morning a heavy frost blanketed the bowl with an overnight temperature of 33°F. The temperature at my house the morning of September 4 was 28°F with heavy frost and frozen rain drops on my car and grass in my yard, frozen puddles of water in the driveway and even froze the doors of my rig shut. Termination dust always means fall has arrived and snow will fall in the bowl six weeks from its arrival but this is no average year.
But what type of ice season will we have is the enigma. Even though the temperatures have fallen back to normal, the whole state of Alaska is so far behind in moisture there may be no ground water to freeze up into cicles. Trickles and dribbles that string the hills are non excitant. Only time will tell!