2002 Year in Review

The year 2002 was marked by warm weather in the autumn and winter months, and relatively cool weather during the spring and summer. Fairbanks experienced above normal temperatures in January and February, along with the southern portion of the state. The western and northern regions were cooler than normal during this period. That situation reversed during March and April, for which Fairbanks and the southern portion of Alaska were cooler than normal, and the west and arctic were warm. April also saw record precipitation in Fairbanks. Nearly 3 inches of total precipitation including 15 inches of snow fell. This made it the wettest and snowiest April on record in Fairbanks. May was just the opposite in Fairbanks, with a total of 5 new record high temperatures observed, including 80°F and 82°F on the 20th and 21st. June, July, and August temperatures were all near or just below normal in Fairbanks, making for a relatively cool summer. Significant events included windy conditions and a low of 36°F on the night of the summer solstice and a new record low of 40°F on the 4th of July. September began a period of much above normal temperatures throughout most of Alaska, including Fairbanks. A large and persistent flow pattern resulting in relatively warm southerly air being pushed into Alaska left Fairbanks 3°F above normal in September, 8°F above normal in October, 17°F above normal in November, and over 11°F above normal in December. A new record high temperature of 44°F was set on November 26th along with a rare freezing rain storm, coating roads with ice and closing schools. The warm weather did not retreat until the last week of the year, when the first -30°F reading occurred. In summary the mean annual temperature for 2002 in Fairbanks was 2.9°F above the 1971 to 2000 average and total precipitation of 13.33" (water equivalent) was about 3 inches above average.