How's the rain in Alaska in May/June?

Old May 18th, 2006, 10:37 AM
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How's the rain in Alaska in May/June?

Hi,

I'm going to Alaska toward the end of May and June, and so far the forecast is rain, rain, rain.

Does anyone know what the rain is like in Alaska at this time of the year? Heavy torrential rain, showers, sprinkles? Where I come from hardly rains most of the year, so I'm a bit dampened by the forecast.

Please share what you know so I know what to wear and what activities I can plan.

Thanks.
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Old May 18th, 2006, 10:39 AM
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Forgot to add that I'll be in Southeast Alaska, Seward, Anchorage, and Denali NP.
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Old May 18th, 2006, 12:28 PM
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Hi JC,
May is normally dryer than June, July or Aug. When we were in Anc, denali, Seward and southbound cruise back to Vanc, a few years ago in last week of May, early June, we had mostly gray skies, little rain, mostly mist type except for one day, and hardly any sun. But in Alaska there is so much variance that you could have all sun, all rain or something in between. We have been in Ketchikan twice, one of the rainiest spots on earth and had two sunny days, so who knows. Secret is to layer up, have a water proof shell or cheap slicker to put on. I never wore more than light weight jacket, and it was never cold except day in Hubbard Glacier.
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Old May 18th, 2006, 01:53 PM
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Hi JC98, Are you going to cruise up there? We are on the Holland America cruise departing May 28. Are traveling with a small travel club from rural Colorado. Have been on other cruises but not to Alaska, yet. Guess we have to be prepared for almost any type of weather. Sounds a lot like Colorado.
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Old May 18th, 2006, 04:08 PM
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I was in Southeast Alask in early to mid June in 2000. It rained only one day of our 12 day trip. That day it was a cold, steady rain all day and night. The rest of the trip the weather was glorious. A couple of days it drizzled on and off...misted really. One day I was actually hot (and I am from Florida!) and wished I had a pair of shorts with me! The rest of the time the weather was crisp and cool. I was comfortable in jeans and a mid-weight shirt most of the time. When it got cool I threw on a sweatshirt. Only needed a heavy coat, hat and gloves when we cruised out to see the glaciers. Did this twice because it was so amazing!

Enjoy your trip! I have been many places and Alaska ia a favorite!

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Old May 18th, 2006, 04:11 PM
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And by the way, we were out and about the days that is misted and the day it rained. The rain was not torrential.

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Old May 18th, 2006, 10:17 PM
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Thanks, all, for sharing your experiences. Hope we'll be lucky like some of you and see some sunny days.

I'm a bit concerned about driving in the rain, esp in Skagway on South Klondike Hwy. Heard it has a very steep gradient.

Also, would an umbrella be necessary or useful? Or a poncho is good enough?

Thanks
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Old May 19th, 2006, 03:08 AM
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I would not even bother with an umbrella, The best thing you can do is go to an outdoor store and purchase some rain gear, jacket or parka and some pants that will roll up in a it's small bag. They clip on your belt loop or back pack. And like everyone says. Layer, layer,, Also invest in some silk "long johns". This will keep you cool or warm and most important.. your last layer will be dry from your skin. I am going to Alaska in June also, taking my 22 month old. I have been numerous times and Don't worry about the rain. Go have fun out in the rain. No lightning in Alaska. Do take some waterproof shoes. If you haven't gotten some Crocs.com they are good. And a pair of light hiker boots. That is staple. don't bother with any other type of shoes unless you are doing a cruise.
Best of luck.
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Old May 19th, 2006, 04:56 AM
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JC98, if it makes you feel any better... last year we went to Alaska for two weeks in June. The 10 day forecast on weather.com showed rain, rain and more rain, however, we saw sun, sun and then some! The day we drove from Seward to Anchorage it rained all day but that was it. Don't despair!
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Old May 19th, 2006, 07:13 AM
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I am just back from the first sailing of the year, 6 out of 7 days of rain. Plenty of sorry passengers who just were not prepared, I was and it made all the difference. Necessary is good rain gear. An umbrella can be ok but not on the ship.

No way to predict, I've been in everything from the mist to pounding downpours. You essentially are asking a question that can not be answered. Best is to just be prepared, flexable and accepting of what comes your way.
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Old May 19th, 2006, 12:11 PM
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Thanks, all, for your replies.

I have waterproof jacket w/ a hood. A poncho. A waterproof pair of pants to wear over my regular pants plus thermal longjohns underneath.

Shoes are probably my most problematic area. My good hiking shoes are not waterproof, and it's too late to buy another pair as I don't have enough time to break them in. I'll try applying the waterproof spray on them. I also bought waterproof socks.

Maybe I'll carry an umbrella for good measure.

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Old May 23rd, 2006, 12:35 PM
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Hello again JC,
The drive out of Skagway is not that steep and we had no problem. They had a dusting of snow on the mtns the night before we were there on Labor Day. We had sun and nice two lane roads with lots of pull offs for photos. It was a little curvy but not all switchbacks either. Easy drive. Enjoy your trip and relax.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2006, 03:39 PM
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I'm two weeks out and still confused with this. How much should I really invest in rain gear and shoes? I know it's my decision, but can't decide what to do.

We know we don't need hiking boots. We're not doing anything like that. We're going fishing one day and whale watching another. The only other excursion we have is the train in Skagway. So outside of tennis shoes, a rain jacket, and layers...do we really need anything else?
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Old Jun 3rd, 2006, 04:12 PM
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No, you should not need more. Layers--several if going anywhere near glaciers--warm gloves, hat, and socks (recommend polypropylene), good rainproof ponchos or some raingear like that, sunglasses, sunscreen, bug repellent, comfy shoes, binoculars, and $$$$ are the basic necessities for Alaska in the summer. But if you find you do need more once in Anchorage, go to the local Fred Meyer for anything you might need. Enjoy your trip!
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Old Jun 3rd, 2006, 04:35 PM
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We were on an Alaskan cruise last June. Had seven days of sunshine. Did lots of walking and hiking and a pair of regular running shoes worked well. It's a bit cool on deck so take a hoodie for extra warmth when standing at the rails. Otherwise, have a great trip, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity.
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Old Jun 4th, 2006, 12:10 PM
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Thanks so much. I figure I'll buy whatever I don't have when I get there. Don't want to go crazy purchasing all kinds of shoes and coats just for a few days in AK. I have a water-repellant coat with removable lining. It also has a hood. With layers underneath, I figure that will be fine.

Thanks for all of the help. I'm looking foward to it.
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Old Jun 8th, 2006, 03:44 PM
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I'm the original poster of this thread and we just got back from our 2 weeks trip in AK. Guess what, the weather was gorgeous despite the rain rain rain forecast! It only rained incessantly one day in Ketchikan, which we were ok to have it as an authentic Ketchikan experience.

Everywhere else was a bit overcast or sunny. Gorgeous clear day in Glacier Bay and sunny day on our drive to Denali w/ a full clear view of Denali's south face. We should have snapped a photo of Denali's south face looming right in front of us on the highway. We didn't realize it was a rare event, and thought we could take that picture on our day back to Anchorage. But it clouded in and Denali totally disappeared from the Alaska Range!

Don't trust any weather forecasts. Just go and prepare for the weather. I found it was very useful to have a knit head hood and good gloves (I wore polartec). It could get cold, esp. out on the deck of the ship and in Denali.

My extreme squall jacket from Lands End worked great. It's totally water proof with a hood. I also bought a water repellent sport pants to wear over my jeans on the day we got rained on in Ketchikan.

Bottom line advice: don't fret too much about the weather. Just go for it. The sceneries there will blow you away!
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Old Jun 8th, 2006, 05:04 PM
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The weather isn't exactly 100% accurate~ lots of systems skirt around elsewhere.
I live here and we've had a beautiful, mostly dry summer for the past few years in South central. August and Sept. are dicey for planning, and the moose like it wet!
Enjoy your trip, and a good jacket and comfortable walking shoes should take care of any damp weather
 
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