It was a cool, rainy summer in Southeast Alaska. Ketchikan got the worst of it, with a record-breaking 45 inches of rain. While Haines and Skagway residents may feel robbed of their share of sunshine, meteorologists say the Upper Lynn Canal actually didn’t have it that bad.
“For all you in Haines and Skagway who feel like ‘oh this is such a wet summer,’ well I have some disappointing news for you,” Wes Adkins, with the National Weather Service in Juneau, said. “It has been maybe slightly above normal, but not significantly such.”
The weather service counts the months of June, July and August as ‘summer.’ On the last day of August, Haines residents saw dreary weather characteristic of much of the summer.
But Adkins says rainfall in Haines this summer was only about 11 percent higher than average. The norm is 5.86 inches of summer rain.
“[Haines] got 6.49 [inches.] That puts us in 30th place all-time, which isn’t too much to write home about,” Adkins said. “And just for comparison’s sake, Haines got 6.49 inches for the entire summer. Ketchikan got 45 inches and they’re still counting. So I’m sure many of your listeners will say ‘well this is why we live in Haines.'”
And once Skagway residents hear their numbers, they’ll probably say the same thing. As of late morning on Aug. 31, Skagway’s summer rainfall hadn’t even surpassed the average.
“All told for the summer, they’re supposed to get 4.37 inches (that is the average),” Adkins said. “Well they’ve got 4.28 inches. If they can manage another tenth, they’ll achieve a normal summer there.”
Overall, this summer doesn’t hold a candle to 2014. That is the wettest summer on record for both Haines and Skagway.
“I’m afraid your listeners who think it might be a wet summer, well [they have] maybe a little short memory span,” Adkins said.
Haines was drenched with more than 16 inches of rain that summer. Skagway saw more than 10 inches of precipitation in 2014.
Adkins says even Southeast’s rainiest summers pale in comparison with the effects of former Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana.
“They’ve had reports of anywhere between 35 and 52 inches of rain over the course of just a few days,” Adkins said. “So it kind of puts what we’ve experienced this summer in a different perspective. And it just kind of proves how staggering and epic this event with former Hurricane Harvey has been.”
The Upper Lynn Canal is due for a reprieve from the rain over Labor Day weekend. Adkins says the precipitation will likely return by Monday.