There are the typical 4 seasons; spring and fall being short. Many people would say that the true seasons are winter, breakup, and construction. Very fun to have such extremes changes in the weather. Along with the seasons there are different areas of Alaska that receive different kinds of weather.
Southcentral Alaska enjoys fairly mild temperatures, but does receive a fair amount of precipitation. Over the year, it’s common for certain cities in the area to receive a total of 25 feet of snow. Southeast Alaska is warmer but definitely rainy. Some areas in the southeast receive 220 inches of rain in the course of a year. Rain gear is definitely recommended for trips at any time of the year. The Interior’s weather is unpredictable at best. In the summer, temperatures can soar to 90 degrees one day, only to be followed by a snowstorm the next. Temperature and weather swings are common. In the winter, you can almost always rely on extremely cold temperatures, dipping as low as minus 60 degrees for periods of several days. The Northern area of Alaska is rightly considered a frigid place to visit. In the winter, days colder than minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit are common. While many parts of the north don’t get much warmer than 15 F in the summer, some protected places have been known to reach 70 F and higher. Western Alaska’s proximity to the sea makes it a stormy place to visit, but the frequent rain and fog make it a great habitat for salmon.
Sherry Simpson does an amazing job of describing winter as more than cold as I would describe it. “Only a trembling rind of flesh separates us from the dark embrace of cold. Winter reminds me every moment how weak is the flesh that rides our bones, how quickly fervent blood retreats from limbs and puddles deep inside, trying to delay the chill that reaches steadily toward the heart.” Exactly how it feels in the middle of winter when I make a quick dash outside without a coat on.
The best part of Alaska in my opinion is the long summer days. During the weeks leading up to late June’s summer solstice, the sun is above the horizon anywhere from 18 to 21 hours depending on the part of the state. So it’s no surprise that us Alaskans tend to become nocturnal during the summer months: midnight hikes and fishing at 10 p.m. are typical!