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Green-Up: When will Fairbanks come alive for summertime?

Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 5:04 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The snow is almost gone and things are still looking gray; however, that will change when green-up occurs. According to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Fairbanks this should happen in the coming days.

What is green-up? “We define green-up as the time of the year when the buds on the tree come out and then we just see the green across the city,” said NWS meteorologist Alex Young.

Knowing when this occurs isn’t an exact science; rather the forecasters at the NWS office at the University of Alaska Fairbanks use a landmark out their office window. Each day they check Chena Ridge to see if it has turned green.

“It’s one of those where... we look at Chena Ridge and it looks brown one day and the next day it looks green, and that’s when green-up has occurred,” Young said.

However, green-up doesn’t take them by surprise. They are able to use science to determine the most likely time for it to occur.

“Based on March 1, we look at that accumulation for the warm days - and once it gets to a certain threshold we can expect green-up to occur within a couple of days of accuracy,” Young said.

This year they are predicting green-up to occur plus-or-minus one day of Sunday, May 9. Young said this timeframe is right in line with the yearly average of green-up occurring on May 8. However, the earliest green-up on record was April 26, and the latest May 26, so he said anytime within that month is fair game for green-up.

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