The month of December brought much-needed snow to many parts of the US. In Alaska, a massive Christmas storm, as well as more the following week over New Year’s, brought record-breaking amounts of snow to Denali National Park and surrounding areas.
Alaska especially has experienced massive snowstorms this past month, with average snowfall accumulation breaking records dating back to 1923. According to Denali National Park Weather Service, the park received 74.5 inches of snowfall, just over 6ft throughout December.
Within a seven consecutive day period between December 23rd to the 27th, over 50 inches of precipitation fell. Not only did record amounts of snow fall throughout the entire month, but the snow stuck around with 60 inches still on the ground as of December 29th. That’s five feet of snow on the ground, setting a new record for the state.
Another characteristic of these record-breaking storms is the heaviness of the snow, not common in December or during the colder winter months. Due to higher water content and a heavier snow consistency from these storms, December now follows August as the second wettest month on record. It makes it the wettest December in history.
On average, the city of Anchorage experiences snowfall 11.6 days with 1.2 inches of accumulation a day during December. This past December, average accumulation totaled almost two inches a day, doubling the average.
The recent snowfall from these December storms is much needed, especially as the state has been experiencing higher than average temperatures in some areas, a record-breaking 60-degree day was set at the Kodiak Airport earlier in the month. Alaska broke records the entire month of December into the New Year.