Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


Warm, dry spell sets new records


September 23, 2010

Residents found ways to get outdoors as a spell of unusually warm, dry weather that started Sept. 11 continued into early this week.

Temperatures that reached into the 70s set records on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. The average high temperature for the week ending Monday was 69 degrees, compared to an average high temperature of 61 degrees for the month of July.

"P.E. classes have been outdoors all week. The kids are loving it," said Tiana Taylor, secretary at Haines School.

Junior high science teacher Tennie Bentz took students on a lesson to Sawmill Creek and Jeanne Kitayama’s second graders trekked downtown to pick rose hips to make into fruit leather.

Principal Cheryl Stickler said she didn’t believe the weather was distracting students from their studies. "A happy student is a successful student… It’s been a nice way to ease into the school year."

Kimberly Vaughan, a forecaster for the National Weather Service in Juneau, said record-breaking temperatures included 74 degrees Wednesday (topping a record 72 set in 1986), 75 Thursday (70 set in 1986) and 73 Saturday (64 in 2006). Temperatures on three days previous to Wednesday missed records by one or two degrees, she said.

A 250-millibar jet streak over the Alaska Range and north of the Panhandle was holding in place the good weather, she said. "We’re getting dry, continental air from Canada and a nice, offshore flow from land to the water."

The weather pattern is a "small artifact" of the La Nina effect, she said. "It’s pretty rare and I think people (in Juneau) are taking advantage of it. There’s a lot of bikes on the bike paths and convertibles and classic cars."

If there’s no rain through Thursday, Sept. 23, a Haines record will be set for consecutive days in September without precipitation. The record is 11 days in 1974, according to Vaughan.

Not everyone was happy with the warm spell. Keith and Anne Stevens, of Launceston, Australia, standing in sunshine at the Haines bank Monday, said they were looking for cooler temperatures on their Alaska vacation.

"Everybody’s been telling us how lucky we are," Keith Stevens said. "We didn’t want this. We came dressed for winter. We brought warm gloves, boots and scarves. We almost brought thermals."