Fair Weather

The Alaska State Fair is known for its usual wet weather, but Alaskans were spoiled this year — and it wasn’t because of the abundance of food or entertainment.

This year’s weather was nearly ideal during the week-and-a-half stretch. It was overall warmer, drier and sunnier in comparison to last year.

The first day of the fair on Thursday, Aug.25 started cool and wet, with 0.84 inches of rain recorded at the Palmer Municipal Airport. This was the most rain recorded in one day since early June. People worried about wet weather at the fair didn’t have to fret for long though. The rain came to an end by Thursday evening, and sunshine was abundant by Friday afternoon.

The sunshine allowed temperatures to rise into the upper 60s on Friday and by Saturday, a ridge of high pressure sent temperatures soaring to 76 degrees — the warmest temperature of the entire month in Palmer.

The warm temperatures continued for the majority of the fair. In total, Palmer recorded five days with temperatures in the 70s, five days with temperatures in the 60s, and only two days with temperatures in the 50s over the course of the fair.

The 50-degree days came on the last two days — Sept. 4 and 5 — when cloudy skies kept the high temperatures in the upper 50s. Rain was also recorded on those last two days, bringing the total number of days with rain during the fair to three and the total amount to 1.15 inches.

The weather at this year’s fair is quite the contrast to last year’s, from Aug. 27 – Sept. 7, 2015. It rained on six fair days in 2015, but the total amount of rain was much lower — only 0.40 inches overall. Temperatures were cooler too, not a single day over 63 degrees was recorded. In fact, temperatures were only in the 60s for half the time, with high temperatures in the 50s for the other half. Normal high temperatures for late August to early September are in the mid to upper 50s.

Despite the fact that August and September are two of the wettest months of the year for Southcentral Alaska, and with cooling temperatures the state fair came out on top this year with the luck of the draw.

KTVA meteorologist Rachael Penton can be reached by email, or on Facebook or Twitter.