A portent of a wetter – or drier – Arctic …


Gardeners and farmers around the Interior have pretty much shut down for the winter after a cool, rainy, and for many, disappointing growing season. Some growers salvaged a decent yield by diversifying their crops – and taking advantage of a late-season warm spell to do some last-minute harvesting.

Fairbanks, AK - Rain continues to fall across the central and eastern interior as July extends a trend that made June Fairbanks' rainiest on record.  National Weather Service Meteorologist Scott Berg is tracking precipitation totals.

"Just the first day of July we had 1.92 inches of rainfall, and that was a new record for that date, and it was almost three times what the previous record was. Since midnight last night we've picked up a bit more. So far this month we've had 2.73 inches of rain," he said. 

Fairbanks, AK - The rain is resulting in dangerous driving conditions.  State Department of Transportation Northern Region spokeswoman Meadow Bailey says she issued numerous travel advisories this morning.

Fairbanks, AK - It’s official.  Last month was Fairbanks' wettest June on record. National Weather Service meteorologist Benjamin Bartus credits precipitation that began late yesterday with taking the total just past the previous record.

"We had some showers roll in, and in the 11th hour we broke the June monthly record of rainfall by one one-hundredth of an inch, so that makes this the wettest June on record," he said.

Visitors and staff from a private lodge in Denali National Park, were evacuated by air last night after rain swollen creeks blocked vehicle access near the end of the 92 mile Park Road. Park Service spokes woman Kris Fister says the more than 3 inches of rain that fell in the area overnight Thursday transformed two creek crossings.

"What normally are very small streams that do cross the road, Ureka Creek and Friday creek, something that you could easily walk across became raging torrents," she said.

Rain falling across the central and eastern interior has drawn concerns that rivers still running high from heavy precipitation last week, could result in more flooding.

Flood watches are in effect for the Fairbanks, Delta Junction, Tok and Eagle areas. They’re due to a low pressure system that National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Hancock describes as similar  to the one that dropped 2 to 5 inches in the central and eastern interior last week.  The event resulted in some area rivers overflowing their banks, and localized flooding, and Hancock anticipates more trouble.

Heavy rains in the Fairbanks area are causing flooding along rivers. National Weather Service hydrologist Ed Plumb reports high water on the Chena River, along Chena Hot Springs road east of town.

"One to two feet of water is flowing over at mile 36.9, and it is impassable for some vehicles. Also, reports of water over most of the banks out in the Chena Rec area and other places upstream of the Moose Creek Dam," he said. 

The Fairbanks area has seen some impressive rainfall over the last few days. National Weather Service meteorologist John Lingass reports two to three inches around Fairbanks, and three to four inches over the hills northeast of town.

"To put the rainfall in perspective, our annual precipitation in Fairbanks is around 10 to 11 inches," Lingas said. "Before the rains started a couple days ago, we had about half of our amount of precipitation for this time of year, and since that time we've well exceeded that and now we're above normal for this time of year."