November Weather Trivia

While Valdez remains on pace for it’s driest year in history, we are also experiencing ansnowless November with 1.8″ of rain. Freezing rain has occurred which is rare for Valdez. In most years, November is very snowy, but can give way to a brutal snow drought in December.  The other thing missing from winter is a wind event.

The reasons for this are many, but the primary factors includes a persistent ridge of high pressure to the east along the US/Canada border over the past month and the slow decay of a super typhoon in the Bering Sea.  Another crucial factor to our mild temperatures is the Gulf of Alaska where surface temperatures are running about 5 degrees above normal.  This huge thermal mass has a profound affect on coastal temperatures as most our winter storms pass over these waters.

After a bit of research, the following stats may be of interest to readers.  Despite the lack of snow, skiing has been very good in the Pass over the past month when the weather allows on a shallow, stout, dense, base layer that set up a month ago.

Least Snowiest Novembers

November 2014(through today) – 0″

1. November 2010 – 4″

2. November 1995 – 6″

Snowiest Novembers

1. November 1956 – 131″

2. November 1994 – 108″

3. November 2013 – 80″

We have had Novembers that were much drier, yet produced measurable snow instead of rain.  For instance 2012 produced 16″ of snow with 0.88″ we.

The long-term forecast for the remainder of the month shows little if any snow so it remains possible we will end November in the record books in regards to snowfall amounts.  One thing the climate history of Valdez shows is it will snow. And not just a little, but a lot.

Source : Weather Warehouse Valdez11-20-14A

Meanwhile here’s a picture of my short solo trip yesterday to the south flanks of Loveland Peak. Never skied out there, but the snowpack was shallow and stability good. Its good to search out new areas to practice routing and assessment skills, away from more common areas.