Winter was milder than usual

Posted: Monday, April 03, 2000

One of the mildest winters on record in Juneau turned to spring last month with an unusually warm, wet March.

March was the 10th consecutive month with above-normal temperatures. Daytime highs averaged 2 degrees above normal and nighttime lows were 5 degrees above normal. There hasn't been a hard frost since March 11, said Jim Smith with the National Weather Service. Measurements are made at the airport, which is essentially at sea level.

Rainfall at the airport is 3 inches above normal for the year, and December was 6 inches above normal.

Although rainfall is up, the unusually warm temperatures mean precipitation has not come into Juneau as snow. The airport has received less than half of the average 100 inches of annual snowfall.

``That means less shoveling in the driveways,'' said Gary Mendivil, business manager for Eaglecrest Ski Area.

At higher elevations, however, it's a different story. Mendivil said the snow level is about normal at Eaglecrest. There are about 140 inches at the top of the lift, at the 2,600-foot elevation, and about 3 feet at the bottom, the 1,200-foot elevation.

Unseasonably warm weather in December melted about 3 feet of snow at Eaglecrest. ``Levels would be much higher, but basically we started all over again after Christmas,'' Mendivil said.

April is statistically the driest month in Juneau, with an average of less than 3 inches of rainfall. October and November are the wettest months.

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