Local Weather and Climate Profiles

The coastal weather patterns are formed when the warm, moist marine air driven by the pacific current across the Gulf of Alaska and hits the coastal mountain range. An average of one storm every four or five days crosses the gulf between October and April. When the storms attempt to reach equilibrium with inland air masses while being squeezed over glaciers and through narrow river/mountain passes, wind conditions can exceed hurricane force.

Because of these seasonally unpredictable wind and sea conditions, mariners have referred to the section of coastline between Icy Bay and Cape Clear as coffin corner. Seas exceeding 65 feet are known, and seas to 30 feet common during cyclonic storms in fall and winter, when winds are often 40 knots, and sometimes exceed 100 knots. Precipitation in the area can reach 300 inches per year, although the average along the river delta is probably closer to 150 inches, including up to 80 inches of snow. During calm weather there is often a “kiss of the Copper”, strong offshore winds at the mouth of the river caused when high air pressure from the interior flows down the Copper River valley. September is the rainiest month, with an average of 40 inches, while June is the driest.

Coastal temperatures are considered mild, with summer temperatures in the 60°s, and winter temperatures in the mid 30°s.

Just over the coastal mountain range it is a different story, with summer temperatures sometimes reaching into the 90°s, and winter temperatures approaching -40°F. The upper areas of the Copper River Basin experience about one-fifth of coastal precipitation, and annual precipitation averages less than 12 inches in the interior region.

Interior/Continental Climate Zone: Interior Alaska experiences seasonal temperature extremes. January temperatures average from -22° to -2°F; July temperatures average 50° to 72°F. Annual precipitation is 11.3 inches.

Chistochina: The climate in Chistochina is continental, characterized by long, cold winters and relatively warm summers. Total annual precipitation averages 13 inches, with annual snowfall averaging 61 inches. Temperature extremes from a low of -62° to a high of 91°F have been recorded.

Chitina: The climate in Chitina is continental, characterized by long, cold winters and relatively warm summers. Total annual precipitation averages 12 inches, with an average annual snowfall of 52 inches. Temperature extremes from a low of -58° to a high of 91°F have been recorded. Chitina is usually 10° warmer than its neighbor, Kenny Lake.

Kluti-Kah / Copper Center: Copper Center is located in the continental climate zone. Winters are long and cold, and summers are relatively warm. Temperature extremes have been recorded from a low of -74· to a high of 96°F. Annual snowfall averages 39 inches, and total precipitation averages 9 inches per year.

Copperville: Long, cold winters and warm summers. Temperature extremes: -74° to 96°F. Snowfall averages 39 inches and precipitation is 9 inches per year.

Gakona: Gakona is located in the continental climate zone, with long, cold winters and relatively warm summers. Temperature extremes have been recorded from -62° to 91°F. Annual snowfall averages 61 inches, with total precipitation of 13 inches.

Glennallen: Glennallen is located in the continental climate zone, with long, cold winters and relatively warm summers. The mean temperature in January is -10°F; in July, it is 56°. Annual snowfall averages 39 inches, with total precipitation of 9 inches per year.

Kenny Lake: Kenny Lake lies in the continental climate zone, with long, cold winters and relatively warm summers. Temperature extremes range from -58° to 91°F. Annual snowfall averages 52 inches, with total precipitation of 12 inches per year.

McCarthy: McCarthy is located in the continental climate zone. Temperature extremes range from -58° to 91°F. Annual snowfall averages 52 inches, with total precipitation of 12 inches per year.

Mendeltna: Mendeltna is located in the continental climate zone. Temperature extremes range from -74° to 96°F. Annual snowfall averages 39 inches, with total precipitation of 9 inches per year.

Mentasta Lake: Mentasta Lake is located in the continental climate zone, with long, cold winters and relatively warm summers. Temperature extremes range from -57° to 93°F. Average annual snowfall is 69 inches, with a total of 16 inches of precipitation per year.

Nelchina: Nelchina is located in the continental climate zone. Temperature extremes range from -74° to 96°F. Annual snowfall averages 39 inches, with total precipitation of 9 inches.

Paxson: Paxson experiences seasonal temperature extremes. January temperatures average from -22° to -2°F; July temperatures average 50° to 72°F. Annual precipitation averages 11 inches.

Slana: Slana experiences a continental climate, with long, cold winters and relatively warm summers. Temperature extremes range from -62° to 91°F. Annual snowfall averages 61 inches, with 13 inches of precipitation.

Tazlina: Tazlina is located in the continental climate zone, with long, cold winters, and relatively warm summers. Temperature extremes range from -74° to 96°F. Annual snowfall averages 39 inches, with total annual precipitation of 9 inches.

Coastal Temperate Rainforest: The Copper River Delta area is the northernmost section of the Pacific Temperate rainforest.

Eyak / Cordova: Winter temperatures average from 17° to 28°F. Summer temperatures average from 49° to 63°F. Average annual precipitation is 167 inches, and average annual snowfall is 80 inches.

© 2011 Copper River Knowledge System