October finishes drier than normal

October is the heart of the rainy season in Juneau, but not so much in 2015.

According to figures from the National Weather Service office here, the month finished with 7.21 inches of rainfall, 1.42 inches below normal. That measurement was taken at Juneau International Airport, the city’s official measuring point since 1943.

Until this month, Juneau had been on pace for its wettest year since measurements began. The current record-holder is 1991, when 85.15 inches of precipitation (rain and melted snow) were recorded. As of Nov. 1, Juneau has seen 70.52 inches of precipitation, almost exactly 20 inches above normal for this point in the year.

Juneau averages 5.99 inches of precipitation in November and 5.84 in December; it would require wetter-than-normal conditions in the last two months of the year to make this the new wettest year.

Even if it doesn’t break the record, this year is already guaranteed a spot among the wettest years in Juneau’s history. Even with two months remaining, Juneau has already had its 10th wettest year since 1943.

The airport tends to be one of the driest spots in the capital city, and unofficial measuring points across Juneau recorded slighly wetter figures for the month.

Downtown, 10.88 inches of rain were recorded. That figure is below October norms for downtown Juneau, whose intermittent records stretch back to 1890. In the Mendenhall Valley, 9.03 inches of rain were recorded; at Eaglecrest, the figure was 11.91 inches.

In Auke Bay, 7.45 inches of rain was recorded, and at Annex Creek on Taku Inlet, the figure was 16.18 inches. Those figures were the lowest and highest, respectively, recorded in the Juneau area.

While Juneau’s October rainfall was below normal, its temperatures were significantly above normal. The capital city averaged 44.6 degrees, 2.2 above normal for the month, as clouds insulated the city and the remnants of Hurricane Oho pulled tropical warmth and moisture into Southeast Alaska.

While Juneau had a relatively dry October, the same wasn’t true elsewhere in Southeast Alaska. At Ketchikan airport, 30.64 inches of rain was recorded, including a record 7.21 inches on Oct. 8 alone. Those figures gave the First City its eighth-wettest October since 1902.

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