King Salmon saw a record cold snap this month, but milder weather may be on the way

Sep 29, 2021

Clear skies and a cold air mass have pushed the temperatures at the King Salmon airport to record lows. But Bristol Bay may experience wetter and milder weather heading into October.

Daily temperatures in King Salmon dipped below record lows this week.
Credit NOAA/National Centers for Environmental Information

It’s been a chilly September for Bristol Bay. King Salmon broke its daily record low five times in a row within the past week.

University of Alaska Fairbanks climate scientist Rick Thoman said that those cold temps are partly due to the clear skies in places like King Salmon.

“We have this cold air mass in place, and so temperatures have been able to cool off at night, quite dramatically so. Even without any snow cover, temperatures dropping into the teens at King Salmon,” he said.

On Wednesday morning, the low of 14 degrees set a daily record for the fifth consecutive day. On Sunday the low of 13 degrees set a new September monthly record low since the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Centers for Environmental Information began keeping track 80 years ago.

But a cold snap in the fall doesn’t tell us much about what to expect this winter.

“It turns out that there’s really not much correlation between unusual weather in the early fall and what the whole winter brings,” Thoman said.

Typhoon Mindulle to the south of Japan is making its way northwest, and Thoman said could spark a significant change in Alaska’s weather.

“And [it could] bring much milder and stormier weather to the Bering Sea region, and probably work to dry things out in Southeast Alaska where it’s been very wet," he said. "That’s not uncommon with these typhoons that turn northwest, although we won’t feel the direct effects of that.”

That likely means milder and wetter conditions for Bristol Bay heading into October.

Contact the author at izzy@kdlg.org or 907-842-2200.

Tags: