Rain falls, as it always has

Water droplets on leaves following a rainy period in Interior Alaska.

Kodiak has experienced an unusually dry year so far. 

The island has received 23.8 inches of rain since the start of 2020, about 20 inches less than what the National Weather Service considers normal. 

In the driest year on record, 1962, Kodiak saw 19 inches of rain by this point of the year. 

At this point last year, Kodiak had received 34.3 inches of rain, still significantly lower than what would be considered normal. But, by the end of the year, Kodiak got 73.4 inches of rain, only a little under the normal level of 76.9 inches. 

July of this year was particularly dry. Kodiak got only 49% of the rainfall of a normal year, after getting 90% of normal rainfall in June, according to data from Alaska Climate Research Center. 

The 49% figure for July was the lowest in the state of areas measured. Delta Junction was next lowest, with 51% of average rainfall, with Nome and Kotzebue next with 57% and 59% respectively. Ketchikan was the highest, with 164% of average rainfall. 

Every month of the year has been lower than average, with March, when Kodiak got only 3% of average rainfall, being the driest. 

The year has also been hotter than average since March, but the trend is not as pronounced. April was 3.2 degrees warmer than average, May 3.1 degrees warmer, June 1.4 degrees warmer and July 5.4 degrees warmer, according to other data from Alaska Climate Research Center. 

The United States Drought Monitor, a joint research group of University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, lists Kodiak, the Kenai Peninsula, land around Katmai National Park and some areas around Anchorage and Prince William Sound as “abnormally dry” but not in drought. 

The state, and Kodiak, both recorded record high average temperatures for the year last year, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information annual report. For Kodiak, these shifts might also mean less rainfall in the long term. 

“It is too early to conclude on longer term climate change scenarios for the region, but there might be a trend,” said Martin Stuefer, Alaska state climatologist and director of the Alaska Climate Research Center. 

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