Record warmth, record break ups and drought improvements

 3-20-19_Spring Equinox ANC
3-20-19_Spring Equinox ANC (KTUU)
Published: May. 9, 2019 at 5:42 PM AKDT
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The climate numbers for April 2019 are in, and Alaska had some record warm spots. Kotzebue experienced its warmest April on record. The Tanana and Kuskokwim Rivers saw the earliest ice break-ups on record as well.

Overall, Alaska was warm, well above the long term average. The average temperature in April across Alaska was 28.4 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s 5.1F degrees above the average, and makes 2019 the 10th warmest April on record. Bering Sea ice extent was the second lowest on record, coming in just behind 2018. As of May 9, 2019, Chukchi Sea ice extent has dipped to the lowest point on record for this time of year.

The year so far is also trending warmer than normal. The statewide average temperature for January through April was 19.4 degrees Fahrenheit which is more than 9 degrees above the long-term average. This makes the first four months of 2019 the second warmest on record.

The drought in the Southeast Panhandle has improved in the past month. The percentage of the state that is in “severe drought” has dropped from 1.9 percent to 0.9 percent. The area in “moderate drought” has shifted from 1.8 percent to 1.3 percent, and the portion marked as “abnormally dry” by Drought Monitor increased from 2.1 percent to 3.6 percent.

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