According to data published by the National Center for Environmental Information Fairbanks hasn’t seen a snowless Halloween in 79 years. That observation was made on Twitter by Brian Brettschneider, a climatologist with the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
On Monday, Brettschneider pointed out that between 1904 and 1940 there were around seven snow-free Halloweens in Fairbanks, if you define “snow-free” as a snow depth of zero inches and no new snow falling. Since 1940, however, there has been at least a trace of snow every year on Oct. 31.
“Fairbanks currently has a snow depth of 0 (inches). This could be the first snow-free Halloween in 79 years at Fairbanks,” Brettchneider tweeted.
The word “could” is key here; the National Weather Service is forecasting snow today, but not on Halloween itself, leaving a slim chance of a snow-free Halloween.
Speaking with the News-Miner on Tuesday, National Weather Service forecaster Harry Lind said that Brettchneider’s data is accurate, but said it’s likely that Fairbanks will see at least some snow on the ground on Oct. 31.
Snow was forecast for today, with an accumulation of less than one inch predicted. However, while sun is forecast for Halloween, temperatures are anticipated to hit a high of 30, which leaves good odds for the snow lasting through the day. According to the weather service, there is also a 20% chance of snow Thursday evening, with an anticipated low of 23.
“Right now it looks like we have a good chance of having snow for Halloween this year,” Lind said. “Our temperatures are cooling off right now, so we are looking to at least get a decent snow coverage tomorrow. We’re looking for a chance for more snow Friday into the weekend as well.”
Lind added that current temperatures are a little above the historical average, in a continuation of a recent trend.
“The last couple of years have been warmer for October,” he said. “Normally toward the end of October we see an abrupt change, which is what happened last year.”
According to data published by the National Center for Environmental Information, the National Weather Service recorded no trace of snow in Fairbanks — with trace defined as as little as one snowflake — on just six Halloweens since 1904, the last of which was 1940. Since 2016, the Weather Service has recorded only a trace of snow. For snow depth, if more than 10% of the ground is covered by less than one inch of snow, it counts as a trace.
Prior to 2016, the last year that there was less than one inch of snow on the ground on Halloween in Fairbanks was 1962.
Contact staff writer Alistair Gardiner at 459-7575. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMoutdoors.