Severe thunderstorms, heavy rain lash Interior Alaska
A round of powerful thunderstorms developed across interior Alaska late Sunday, prompting the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Fairbanks to issue the first severe thunderstorm warning in almost two years.
As storms strengthened during the second half of the day, small hail, heavy rain and gusty wind spread across the region. Rain began early in the afternoon, prompting concerns about elevated water levels in rivers and streams around Interior Alaska. Enough rain fell in a short period of time to elevate water levels through the night and into Monday morning.
To put that into context, that is about 6 percent of average annual rainfall in Fairbanks. The average annual rainfall in Fairbanks is 10.80 inches. That includes rain and melted snow equivalent between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31.
Needless to say, Sunday's rain was a daily rainfall record, almost doubling the previous record of 0.34 inches set back in 1934.
The hail and wind produced by these thunderstorms was enough to prompt severe thunderstorm warnings by NWS Fairbanks. The last time NWS Fairbanks issued a severe thunderstorm warning was nearly two years ago on July 9, 2017.
The first warning was issued at 6:10 p.m. for wind in excess of 50 mph and hail up to an inch in diameter for the Middle Tanana Valley.
The second came at 6:26 p.m. for similar criteria in the area, then a third at 6:49 p.m. for 50 mph winds and 0.75 inch hail.
There were several reports of hail in the Middle Tanana Valley, including one NWS employee who reported pea size hail 4 miles southeast of Fox, Alaska.
There will be a brief break in the action Monday, as isolated showers spread across the region, before the chance of Thunderstorms returns to Interior Alaska Tuesday afternoon.
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