NWS says slightly warmer summer ahead for Bristol Bay

May 26, 2017

Also say "equal chances" of more or less rain than average. NOAA predictions call for big tides and tide switches ahead this weekend.

View of Snake Lake from Warehouse Mountain trail on a recent sunny day. Despite this short spat of chilly (wet) weather, NWS predicts this summer will likely be warmer than average.
Credit KDLG

While Bristol Bay has experienced some chilly, wet weather over the past week, including light snow, the National Weather Service three month outlook suggests better weather is ahead for the summer.

"For the summertime temperatures, the odds are favoring that it's going to be a little bit above normal, and a lot of that has to do with the continued warm sea surface temperatures," said Bill Ludwig, an NWS forecaster in the Anchorage office. The sea surface temperatures "are not as warm as they have been the last couple years, but they're still a little warmer than normal, and that tends to moderate our summer temperatures and keep them somewhat warm."

Unfortunately, the climate outlook does not have a lot to say when it comes to how rainy or dry this summer might prove.

"There's equal chances that precipitation will be either above normal, below normal, or near normal," said Ludwig. "I know that doesn't sound like much of a forecast, but that's what they have out."

For the longer term, the Climate Prediction Center has been suggesting a possible return to El Nino conditions. The "monster" El Nino of 2015-16 was generally blamed for the recent warm, snowless winters in Alaska (and a host of other ecological and recreational variance).

"There's about a fifty percent chance that we'll have an El Nino, and about a fifty percent chance we'll have what's called a "neutral" year," Ludwig said of his colleagues recent forecast. He said this is the hardest time of the year to predict the El Nino conditions.

For the weekend ahead, boaters and beachcombers would be wise to keep a tidebook handy: NOAA's tide predictions suggest some of the biggest tides and tide switches of the summer will happen over the next few days, peaking Sunday and Monday for most local rivers.

Early Monday morning the Nushagak River will go from a -3.0 foot low to a 24.5 foot high, it's highest tide till the fall.

The Naknek River will be down to a -2.7 late Sunday night, and back up to a summer high of 26.5 feet Monday morning.

The Egegik River will move between a -3.0 foot low to a 20.6 foot high between Sunday and Monday.