The 2009 Season- Fairbanks
Although the 2009 season seemed quite warm, it was only the fifth warmest since 1999 (based on thaw degree days (see chart at left). However, The growing season of 126 days was 11 days longer than the 30-year mean. May started with a record high of 76°F and was warmer than normal. June was about average while July had the highest average daily maximum temperature and the lowest precipitation ever recorded in Fairbanks. The high temperatures combined with the drought enhanced area wildfires resulting in heavy smoke in the area for much of the latter half of July. August had cooler temperatures and increased rainfall which alleviated wildfire threats. September’s mean temperatures were about 4° above the long term mean.
The good weather was not without its drawbacks for both people (smoke) and plants (pests). The warmer than usual weather in May and July promoted a population explosion among insect pests, and aphids in particular decimated eggplants, pepper, and delphiniums.
Voles were a major problem throughout the Interior, and they caused more damage in the garden than we have seen in 30 years. The entire pea crop was destroyed along with some peppers, artichokes, herbs and several annual flower bedding plants that were devoured in flats before they had a chance to be planted. Despite a healthy population of least weasels in the garden, the voles outnumbered them in this warm season.