March 2012 Weather Summary
Contact: Deb Kurtz, (907) 422-0544
With all the snow we shoveled and plowed and plodded through this season, everyone is asking: Did we have record-breaking snowfall around Kenai Fjords this year? This winter we had an excellent record of data collection for the entire season with few missing days at the Exit Glacier Coop weather station. As of March 31st, snowfall totals at Exit Glacier were 243 inches and there were 83 inches of snow on the ground. However, this was not enough snow to break any seasonal snowfall totals at Exit Glacier. The documented big winters since 1990 that we have yet to beat include 1991-92 (308 inches) and 1999-2000 (267 inches). This comparison only included seasons that had good datasets, which can be difficult to obtain as cumulative snowfall is measured and tallied by hand.
March's cooler than normal temperatures have helped the snowpack persist, but less than normal precipitation gave it a chance to settle. As recorded at the Seward airport, total precipitation for the month was 2.09 inches (47% of normal), 2.33 inches below the average monthly precipitation. The monthly average temperature was 27.2 degrees F; 4.9 degrees F below the 30- year average (1981-2010) for this month. March 30th was the warmest day of the month with a high of 49 degrees F; March 5th was the coldest day with a low of 11 degrees F. The highest wind gusts of the month were recorded on March 11th when the Seward airport recorded a maximum wind gust of 30.6 mph. This was also the windiest day of the month at the Seward airport with an average wind speed of 30.1 mph.
Also of note:
Did You Know?
Snowfall on the Harding Icefield can exceed 100 feet each year. After 4-10 years of compression snow turns into glacial ice.