Last March was the wettest in Bristol Bay in over 50 years

Apr 8, 2021

The 30 year average amount of precipitation is usually around 0.7 inches according to data collected by the weather station, making last March over three times the norm. 

 

A bird's-eye-view of the National Weather Service Station in King Salmon.
Credit Google Earth

Last month was the wettest March in Bristol Bay in 54 years. The weather station in King Salmon reported 2.17 inches of precipitation last month. It’s also the fourth highest amount on record around the Bering Sea for this time of year.

The 30 year average amount of precipitation is usually around 0.7 inches according to data collected by the weather station, making last March over three times the norm.  

Precipitation is measured by melting snow combined with the amount of rainfall. Rick Thoman, a climate specialist with the University of Alaska Fairbanks, said five years of reduced sea ice led to a barrage of rain and snow along the Bering Sea.

“Several of the last five Marches have been unusually wet, stormy, snowy -- and that is probably related to the relatively low ice cover we’ve had in the Bering Sea in most marches in the last five years,” he said.

Thoman said while communities on the Alaska Peninsula had more rain, others further north, like Naknek and Dillingham, have an unusually high amount of snow.

“On the south side of Bristol Bay, especially below Naknek, precipitation was more in the form of rain so there’s less snow on the ground but it’s contributed to places like Dillingham to have relatively late, relatively deep snowpack for this time of year,” said Thoman. 

People in the region should be cautious and wary of floods as snow melts heading into summer.

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

 

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