Water can be seen on foliage after a rainstorm on July 14, 2019, in Kalifornsky, Alaska. The last significant rain to fall on the peninsula was July 26-28. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)

Water can be seen on foliage after a rainstorm on July 14, 2019, in Kalifornsky, Alaska. The last significant rain to fall on the peninsula was July 26-28. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)

Drought persists on peninsula

After three weeks without rain, peninsula has slight chance of showers this weekend.

It’s been 23 days since the central peninsula felt rain, and residents can expect those dry conditions to continue for at least a few more days.

Lucas Boyer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the forecast is showing isolated, chance showers on Friday and through the weekend. But, because of the dry pattern the Kenai Peninsula and Southcentral Alaska are experiencing, those chance shower events could be hit or miss, he said.

Kenai and the central peninsula haven’t received any measurable amount of rain since July, when it rained almost an inch between July 26-28.

Aug. 8, the Kenai Peninsula was placed into a moderate drought stage. The map was updated Aug. 15 to show a severe drought in the northern part of the Kenai Peninsula, a portion of the Matanuska Susitna Borough and Anchorage, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Kodiak Island is also experiencing a drought. On Monday, the city of Kodiak asked their residents to reduce their water consumption to curb a potential water shortage, a Monday press release from the city said.

“After unusually hot weather and in preparation of a potentially dry fall, the City of Kodiak is asking customers for a voluntary reduction of water usage,” the release said. “The reduction of usage is being requested because the potential for a water supply shortage continues to increase.”

The city of Kodiak receives their water from two sources, the Pillar Creek Reservoir and the Monashka Reservoir. The Monashka is the city’s main water supply, where about 6.3 million gallons of water are used a day, on average, the release said.

The U.S. Drought Monitor — produced in partnership with the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — measures droughts using five levels, level zero being no drought, but abnormally dry conditions and the fourth level being an exceptional drought.

Between June 1 and Aug. 12, Kenai has received 1.51 inches of rainfall — a nearly 40% decrease in the average rainfall for the area, which is 3.88 inches of rain.

During the month of June, Kenai received 0.11 inches of rain. The average rainfall for the area in the month of June is 1.07 inches. In July, Kenai received 1.4 inches of rain, compared to an area average of 1.84 inches.

The dry weather has created the conditions beneficial to wildland fires. The Swan Lake Fire near Sterling — which grew nearly 40,000 acres in the last few days — took advantage of dry, windy conditions .

Areas of smoke will continue to persist, according to a special weather statement issued Tuesday from the National Weather Service.

The smoke will reduce visibility to as low as 1 mile at times, and less than 1 mile near active fires.

The worst conditions will be overnight and through the morning hours, with some improvement during the afternoon and early evening, the statement said. Those with respiratory issues may have difficulty breathing outside.

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