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October weather in Fairbanks mostly cool, dry despite early extremes

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Posted: Saturday, November 3, 2012 12:00 am

FAIRBANKS - With the exception of one warm day followed by a couple days of heavy rain, October was a quiet month on the weather front.

“Boring weather, just the way we like it,” said Rick Thoman, lead forecaster at the Fairbanks office of the National Weather Service.

A chinook brought warm weather to Alaska’s Interior on Oct. 4. The high temperature at the Fairbanks International Airport was 61 degrees, just short of the record of 62 degrees set in 1923. The College Observatory cooperative weather station a few miles away, however, did set a record of 59 degrees. The previous high at that site for the date was 58, set in 2001.

Overall, the weather for the rest of the month was cooler than normal, but nothing extreme, Thoman said.

The low temperature for the month was 11 below zero, reached on Oct. 24, nowhere near the record low of minus 22. The average temperature for the month was 22.5 degrees, making it the coolest October since 2008.

After three months of below-normal precipitation was made up somewhat by heavy rainfall on Oct. 7 and 8. On Oct. 7, the 0.21 inches of rain set a new daily record. It was followed the next day by a 0.55 inch rainfall, just shy of the record.

The 1.38 inches of precipitation for the month was above normal, but most of that fell as rain. The first measurable snow fell Oct. 14, about two weeks later than normal. The total snowfall for the month was 7.1 inches, 3.7 inches below normal.

“If we throw in what we did not get in September, our deficit for the season is almost 6 inches behind normal,” Thoman said.

That isn’t likely to change soon, he said. A little snow may fall overnight Friday and Saturday, but it won’t amount to much, Thoman said.

“After that, it looks high and dry for awhile,” he said.

Snow lovers may want to look to the Delta Junction and Tok areas, which have much more snow than Fairbanks.

Daylight continues to dwindle, with Fairbanks losing 3 hours of daylight in the month of November, from 7 hours and 46 minutes at the beginning of the month to 4 hours and 44 minutes on Nov. 30.

Thoman said he doesn’t see a major cold snap in the coming weeks, “but the winter’s young,” he said.

Contact staff writer Julie Stricker at 459-7532.

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