As July begins and the National Weather Service resets their annual snowfall totals to zero, it’s official — Anchorage’s snowfall levels last winter are the lowest on record.
Anchorage’s official total for the 2014-2015 snowfall season is 25.1 inches.
National Weather Service meteorologist Dave Snider says that beat the previous record – set in 1957-58 – by more than 5 inches.
“Something else to keep in mind is this new record is about 1/3 of the normal seasonal snowfall, which is about 74.5 inches, or so,” Snider said. “We count that over about 30 years and take the average.”
Snider says only three of the last 12 months exceeded the normal monthly precipitation averages. And he says the effects of such a low snow winter are evident in this year’s busy fire season.
“The snow here in Anchorage is just a point representation, but many other locations, like the Susitna Valley; like the western Kenai Peninsula, all those regions were very low on snow this year,” Snider said. “And that affects the moisture level of the ground, of the shrubs and the landscape, and all that is feeding into the dramatic fire season we’re seeing this year.”
Wildfires have burned 2,253,575 acres so far this summer.
This year’s record low comes just three year’s after Anchorage saw a record-high annual snowfall of 134.5 inches in the 2011-12 season.