Weather in the Kenai Fjords area was dominated by sunny skies for most of March, resulting in another month of below normal precipitation. Near mid-month, a week of storms added snow to the snowpack, but not nearly the amount required to bring snow depths up to normal. March was the third month in a row to experience an above normal monthly average temperature. This continues the warmer-than-normal trend we have been experiencing since June 2013 (with the exception of December, which was colder than normal and August which was normal).
As recorded at the Seward airport, the monthly average temperature for March was 33.5 degrees F; 1.4 degrees F above the 30-year normal. The total precipitation was 2.4 inches (54% of normal), 2.02 inches below the 30-year normal (1981-2010) for the month. Winds were variable throughout the month with a maximum daily average wind speed of 23 mph recorded on March 8th. The maximum wind gust of 47 mph was also recorded on March 8th.
Research published in Global Change Biology reports that moose are adapting to warmer temperatures by using thermal shelters in the boreal forest. The report also identifies 68°F as the threshold beyond which moose behavior changes significantly.
The Hoary Marmot is the largest member of the ground squirrels. These guys hibernate half or more of their life away. They have very thick fur and a substantial fat layer that protects them from the cold. You are not as likely to see them on hot days as they hide in the shade to keep cool.