Tate Dunnivan shovels snow on Main Street on Tuesday, Nov. 14 after the first significant snowfall in the Chilkat Valley. The valley reported 1-3 inches with more farther up the Haines Highway.

As the first significant dump of snow accumulated across the Chilkat Valley this week, data shows that the annual precipitation in Haines is on track to be one of the wettest years in the last two decades.

According to data from the National Weather Service Haines #2 site, which is located in the downtown area and began recording in 2002, Haines has seen 60.68 inches of accumulated precipitation – both rain and snow combined – from Jan. 1 through Nov. 14. This time last year Haines was at 64.54 inches.

“We’re almost there,” said Andrew Park, a meteorologist with NWS.

According to Park, on average, Haines typically has accumulated about 48 inches of precipitation around this time of year. He said multiple heavy atmospheric rivers that made their way into the area this year likely contributed to why this year’s precipitation is in the range of the higher years recorded at the station. He also noted this fall’s “healthy amount of rain” as another possible factor.

“We had a few strong atmospheric rivers come over in the area – that’s not unusual – you know, given that we’re a rainforest,” he said. “I’d say we’re over the normal but we shouldn’t get too excited about it yet.”

Unofficial NWS records showed that Haines received about 2.5 inches of snow during Tuesday’s dump, with residents reporting 1-3 inches throughout town and a bit more up the highway.

Other towns in Southeast Alaska have similarly seen a rise in precipitation in recent years. The past four years in Juneau were among the 10 wettest years on record, and in 2023 the town broke its precipitation record originally set in 1991.

This year is considered an El Niño year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Park said that likely means warmer temperatures with less precipitation, but that isn’t a guarantee.

“I’m not considering El Niño in my head when I create a forecast package,” he said.