This month is shaping out to be one of the driest Mays on record.
“To date we have had 0.31 inches of precipitation this month.”
That’s Craig Eckert, the station manager for the National Weather Service office in Kodiak. Eckert said if the recent dry spell continues through the end of the month it will break the record.
“The driest one on record right now is 1964 with one inch.”
The second driest May on record was back in 1921 when 1.02 inches of rain fell on Kodiak.
On average, Eckert said Kodiak typically sees 6.31 inches of rainfall in May, meaning this month is 6 inches below normal. He said the .31 inches that did fall this month actually happened in one day. Last May Kodiak received 2.2 inches of rainfall.
“So it was a dry May last year, too. You know we were 4 inches below normal. Yeah, we’re not even close to that now. ”Eckert said the lack of rainfall all over south central Alaska has set the state up for high fire danger.
“We’ve had red flag warnings for fire danger here in Kodiak. The wind has let up, so they went ahead and cancelled our red flag. It’s still very dry out there. And on the Kenai Peninsula they’ve got a pretty good fire that’s blowing all this smoke into Kodiak here.”
Yesterday’s cloud cover was actually smoke from the peninsula fire. Eckert said there were a few clouds forecasted for early in the day, but looking at satellite images yesterday he said most of the haze was because of the wildfire on the mainland.
It the grand scheme of things, Eckert said he doesn’t think this year’s weather is related to anything in particular and is simply an odd pattern at this point.
“I was trying to see if there was any correlation with el nino years or the build up to the el Nino, because it appears there is one forming at the equator, off the coast of Peru. I can’t see where there’s any correlation at this point. The last big el Nino, or a big el Nino that occurred back in 1983 that May was actually pretty close to normal on both precipitation and temperatures.”
Eckert said it looks like the weather pattern will continue over the weekend, which is good news for those hoping to attend Kodiak’s Crab Festival.