October 15, 2003
July 2003 Record Rainfall and Flooding in the Fairbanks Area, Alaska
Midsummer in northern Alaska marks the transition to what is climatologically the wettest time of the year. Frequent weather systems moving from west to east across the state often bring periods of rain to the region and occasionally produce flooding. An unusually strong and moist system dropping down from the Chukchi Sea in late July 2003 brought record rainfall to the central interior. The heavy rainfall and the resultant flooding in the Fairbanks area during July 2003 rivals the all-time record flooding of August 1967, although the weather patterns which produced each of these events were quite different. This talk will present the meteorological situation responsible for the record setting July rainfall in the Fairbanks area and the flooding it created in the local river basins. We will also examine effects of the event on ground-water levels in the Fairbanks floodplain, with particular emphasis on surface- and ground-water interaction between the Chena River and ground water on Fort Wainwright. Lastly, a comparison between the July 2003 and August 1967 events will be discussed.