Thunderstorms fired off ahead of schedule in the immediate Fairbanks area over this past weekend.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Fairbanks, Alaska, a thunderstorm, lasting about 20 minutes or so, occurred in the Fairbanks Basin Saturday evening, May 5, 2012.
While not the earliest thunderstorm on record for the observation site at the airport, it is more common for thunderstorms to form over the mountains which rim the area to the northwest, north and northeast this early in the season.
The last time there was a thunderstorm so early in the basin was May 3, 1984.
According to Senior Meteorologist Jim Andrews, "Thunderstorms, which become more common later in May, reach their peak in June into early July in the region."
Sometimes the storms bring little or no rain but can cause frequent lightning strikes, which in turn can start wildfires.
"Wetter conditions, mostly higher humidity levels, usually follow during the balance of July and August lowering the risk of wildfires somewhat," Andrews said.
Despite the early thunderstorm activity, temperatures averaged close to normal over the weekend in the Fairbanks area with highs in the middle 50s and lows in the lower 30s.
Bitter cold affected much of Alaska during January, when temperatures averaged 10 to 20 degrees below average values.
The month-by-month temperature averages have flip-flopped from extreme warm to extreme cold since November 2011.
"Big temperature swings are not uncommon for the Fairbanks area," Andrews said.
"The swings have to do with the oscillating flow of air from the frigid Arctic, the relatively mild Pacific Ocean and the tricks mountain ranges play on the atmosphere around the region," he added.
The chilliest air of the season so far will settle over much of the Northeast Thursday into Friday and will bring frost to more areas than experienced frost early this week.
Tropical moisture from the approaching Odile will deliver another round of heavy rain and flooding downpours to the interior Southwest by the middle of this week.
The remnants of Odile have the potential to bring heavy rain and flooding to parts of the Plains and Midwest late this week after hitting the Southwest.
On Tuesday, Edouard became the first major hurricane in the Atlantic since Sandy. While the hurricane remains at sea, rough surf will reach some Atlantic coast beaches.
A raging wildfire, which erupted Monday afternoon, has damaged or destroyed more than 100 structures and has forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents in Northern California, near Weed.
On Sunday night, a fiery ball of light ignited across the darkened skies of the northeastern United States, illuminating the heavens in a momentary flash of eerie daylight.
San Felipe Hurricane struck Palm Beach 27.43 inches of rain, enormous damage -- floods on Lake Okeechobee, drowned 1,836; 1,870 injured as dikes around the lake caved in during hurricane.
Mid Atlantic (1933)
Carolina-Virginia Hurricane: 28.25 inches of rain, 76-mph winds at Cape Hatteras -- great wind damage in VA and MD. Twenty-one lives were lost; $1 million damage.
Concord, NH (1964)
27 degrees, concluded shortest growing season (100 days).