Weather and your ability to deal with it, could determine the level of satisfaction you derive from your trip into the Arctic. This information is a generalization of climatic conditions. Be prepared for rapid, severe changes in the weather. Choose your clothing and food with great care. There will be no opportunity for replacement after you enter the park.
Spring and fall are brief. Thawing begins in late April, breakup in early to mid May. There is continuous daylight from mid April to mid August.
August is the rainiest month of the year. The lowlands receive about two inches of rain and mountainous areas receive more. One sudden rainstorm can cause streams and rivers to rise suddenly. Since most travel in the park involves river and stream crossings, it is important to consider changes in water levels.
Freezing temperatures return in September and rivers freeze by early October.
March and April are the best months for skiing. Mid June to September is the best time for backpacking and hiking. July through August is the best time to take float trips.
The central Brooks Range has long, severe winters and relatively short, cool summers. The entire region receives continuous sunlight during the summer for at least 30 days. Conversely, winter visitors will experience long, cold periods of darkness and twilight.
The south side of the Brooks Range below 2,500 feet is generally a sub-arctic climate zone. Precipitation is low, averaging 12-18 inches in the west and 8-12 inches in the east. Snow can fall any months of the year, averaging 60-80 inches. The average maximum and minimum July temperatures are 70�F and 46�F, respectively. Thunderstorm activity is common during June and July, and June through September is generally the wettest time of year. Prevailing winds are out of the north. Freezing temperatures may occur at any time of the year, but particularly from mid-August on. Average minimum and maximum January temperatures are -10�F and -30�F but frequently reach -50�F.
The north side of the Brooks Range has an arctic climate. Mean annual temperatures are colder than on the south side. Maximum and minimum February temperatures range from 33�F to -47�F. The warmest month, July, has a 60�F maximum and 40�F minimum. Precipitation is extremely light, about 5-10 inches per year, making this essentially an "arctic desert". Snow has been recorded in every month of the year, and the annual average is 45 inches. Prevailing winds are greatly modified by local terrain.
|Avg High - �F||-4.5||1.0||14.5||32.3||53.2||67.7||69.6||62.3||48.4||24.9||5.4||-2.3||31.1|
|Avg Low - �F||-20.3||-17.5||-8.8||10.1||33.6||46.8||49.2||43.7||32.2||12.0||-8.5||-17.0||13.1|
|Avg Precip (in)||0.75||0.73||0.65||0.53||0.66||1.40||1.90||2.55||1.76||1.13||0.88||0.86||13.8|
|Avg Snowfall (in)||12.0||9.9||10.1||6.8||1.1||0.0||0.0||0.1||2.1||11.9||13.3||15.2||82.5|
|Avg Snow Depth (in)||26.0||29.0||32.0||26.0||4.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||4.0||12.0||21.0||13.0|
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