Unusually Dry May in Alaska
All but a handful of weather stations across Alaska reported well below-normal precipitation in May 2011, placing that month in a statistical tie with May 1974 as the driest May since records began in 1918.The map above shows the difference from average precipitation across Alaska for May 2011. Shades of brown indicate areas that received up to eight inches less than average precipitation for the month while green indicates up to eight inches more than average.
Meanwhile, daily high temperatures were well above normal in most locations. Fairbanks set a new record high on May 27, topping out at 85°F—3°F warmer than the previous record for that day. Dry conditions combined with well above-average temperatures during the second half of the month contributed to at least 58 lightning-triggered wildfires, according to the Associated Press.
State of the Climate: National Overview–May 2011