Home | Ketchikan | Alaska | Sports | Waterfront | Business | Education | Religion | Scene
Classifieds | Place a class ad | PDF Edition | Calendar | Discussions | Moderated Chat | Home Delivery| How to cancel


Hydropower is gold in Southeast Alaska. With that, a $20 million loan for a new hydropower project on Prince of Wales Island is like striking gold.

Read more...
It's a bad decision on the face of it from a public perspective.

Read more...
8/26/2013
History our guide

This past week we broke a magic-number barrier as regards precipitation. By the end of the third week of August, 2013 finally yielded 75 inches of that liquid sunshine for which we are famed.

A great number, 75, bringing us to nearly half our average annual rainfall of 156 inches or so.

So we started wondering.

How did other years of yore stack up, August-wise? What might such a number, at such a time, portend?

Not seers, we cannot assure ourselves that we are sitting pretty.

But here:

Remember 2005? Of course you do, though perhaps you would prefer not. As we approached that year’s devoutly wished end, we actually were hoping for a record-like 200 inches. A bad year for the wishful dry among us, 2005. We wound up with about 196 inches of precipitation at Ketchikan International Airport. (Don’t call us. Your own rain gauge might’ve indicated more. We know.)

By the end of August that year, we were well on our way, with more than 106 inches already accumulated. In other words, we had an additional 41 percent compared to what we’ve gathered by the same time this year. Roughly the same was true in 1999 which, until 2005, had seemed pretty wet with its 186 inches. By that August’s end, our airport rainfall totaled 101.37 inches.

2006, a blessed relief after its predecessor, saw 82 inches in its first eight months. It turned out to add only another 80 inches or so for its somewhat average total of not quite 161-and-a-half inches. (“Only” another 80 inches?)

Then there was 2010, a year that was almost thoroughly average by New Year’s Eve. Then, total precipitation was 157.4 inches, just a smidge over our 13-foot average. By the end of that August, we’d had not quite 83 inches of rain, with only 75 inches to go. (Again with the “only”? Gulp.)

So history would seem to indicate that with fewer than 80 inches of rainfall gathered thus far in this year, and only those feisty four months remaining — why “feisty”? Well, in 2005, December seemed dry at 20 inches, after November’s 28 and October’s 26, with drought-like September offering only 15 or so inches). In 2006, we had close to 32 inches in December. And back in 2010, October’s total at the airport was almost 35 inches. Eek.) — history would seem, maybe, possibly, we aren’t sure, to indicate that we are not on pace to set any records for moisture here in the rainforest.

What are we really saying?

Since March, we’ve had but a month with more than 10 inches of rain.

As we head into Labor Day weekend and the last gasp of summer, even though the music festival was rained out of Ward Lake, we say this: Hope you enjoyed our summer. Hasn’t the weather been ... mostly ... grand in spring and summer of 2013?