Temperatures in White Mountains in late March typically range
from the 20's (F) during the day to around 5 below zero at night. The sun
is high in the sky this time of year and, as a result, temperatures sometimes
vary by more than 30 degrees between day and night. Due to the hilly
terrain, strong temperatures inversions frequently exist (especially
at night) and it would not be uncommon to dive into a valley bottom (like when you cross Beaver Creek)
where the mercury plummets 20 degrees or more over a very short
distance. For climate buffs, record high temperatures in the 50's have
occurred at the end of March, but record low readings approaching 40
below zero have also been observed (data is from Fairbanks).
The prevailing wind in the White Mountains is from the northeast.
This is no guarantee that the wind will be blowing from this direction.
But a light northeast breeze is often present over the higher terrain
and in exposed areas. Valley bottoms tend to have less wind but this
is not the case everywhere. Strong, gusty winds along with areas of
drifting and blowing snow are not out of the question even in March.
March is the 2nd driest month of the year in the White Mountains,
just after April. Snowfall tends to taper off during the later part
of the winter. Average snowfall in Fairbanks for the entire month of
March is around 5 inches, and will be slightly more in the White Mountains.
Be aware that many feet of snow have fallen in March and then there have
been some years with no new snow.
All of this being said, March is still winter and temperatures well below
zero are still possible. Winds can blow from any direction and heavy snow
can blanket the trail. Racers should be prepared for a wide range of conditions
and pack accordingly.
But don't let the extreme climate statistics and potentially
bad weather frighten you. March is most notably a beautiful time of the year when
the days are long, the sun is warm, and the trail conditions are at their prime!
Current weather conditions at the race start/finish: Wickersham Dome trailhead weather
Fairbanks Area Forecasts: National Weather Service
The days are have grown noticeably longer in interior Alaska by late March, as well as the
angle of the sun in the southern sky. Thanks to an earlier time change, there is "usable"
twilight late into the evening, but at the expense of having a bit darker in the morning.
There are typically about 1.5 hours of "useable" twilight on either side of sunrise and sunset. Although this will be less if there is cloudcover. The
table below lists daylight as well as twilight information for the White Mountains for March 24, 2013.
|Sun and Moon Information
|Begin Civil Twilight
|End Civil Twilight
Moon phase on 26 March: waxing crescent with 13% of the Moon's visible disk illuminated.