Nome in Alaska Experiences 5th Coldest April Ever

The Alaskan city of Nome has seen the fifth coldest April on record, with temperatures on April 8 hitting an all-time daily record.

Nome registered an average temperature of 8.4 degrees Fahrenheit in April.

“That is 14 degrees below the normal,” Rick Thoman, from the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, said in an interview with Knom Catholic community radio station. “On April 8, Nome airport did get to 30 below, and that tied the all-time record. Temperatures were not as far below normal (during) the second half of the month, so that pulled up the average some. It really was quite a cold April.”

However, “it’s not the coldest April that we’ve ever had; 1985 was significantly colder. The average temperature is only about one degree above zero that month,” Thoman pointed out. Back in 1985, the month of April registered an average temperature of just 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit.

Before 1985, the coldest April was in 1924, when the average temperature was 4.1 degrees Fahrenheit. “Unless you’re almost 100 years old now, this (April 2023) was either the second coldest or coldest April that you’ve lived through,” Thoman said.

In an April 13 post at Substack, Thoman wrote that, though April average temperatures have “warmed up significantly” across most of Alaska in the past five decades, the trend has changed in recent years.

“In the past three years, April has seen historical level cold outbreaks in somewhere in Alaska: in 2021, extreme cold April 4-12 was centered over the central and eastern Interior and eastern Gulf of Alaska coast; in 2022 the cold snap was shorter but still locally record-setting, primarily in the western Interior. This April, the record cold has been centered over western Alaska.”

Snowfall Record

Snowfall in Nome this winter season has also broken records. Between December and April, the region received around one-third more snowfall than in the same period during 2021–2022.

“Between December of 2021 and the end of April of 2022, there was 6.28 inches of liquid equivalent precipitation that’s melted snow. From Dec. 1 of 2022 to the end of April of 2023, there was 9.36 inches of liquid equivalent precipitation,” meteorologist Ryan Metzger with the National Weather Service in Fairbanks told Knom.

Other parts of Alaska have also seen record snowfall. In an April 10 interview with Alaska Public Media, National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Brettschneider called the cold snap in the western part of the state a “historic” one.

“Nome recorded their lowest April temperature on record, in any year. Kotzebue has set four or five record daily lows. McGrath has, too. Bethel, King Salmon, and Anchorage have set record low high temperature, so coldest high temperatures—and day after day,” he said.

“So, it’s been really remarkable the intensity and the duration. For some of these locations, this is the coldest start to any April on record. And these are some long periods of record.”

In Nome, the typical chance of rain or snow in April on an average day is around 9 percent. And when it does rain or snow, the region receives 12.5 mm of precipitation on an average day. The wettest month in Nome tends to be August, while April is usually the region’s driest month.

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