Observation: Fort Yukon didn't see much rain during the summer, and the water levels in the Yukon and Porcupine Rivers are really low. Water levels on the Yukon are running 5 feet below normal. The low water didn't have much of an impact on fishing, except that the fishwheel can't operate as it used to. There are more sandbars in the rivers; sandbars don't build up quickly, so residents use these as indicators of low water. Low water levels in the Porcupine river have prevented Fort Yukon residents from getting to their cabins upriver.
This post was created by Erica Mitchell in consultation with members of the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments Elders and Youth Meeting.
National Weather Service, Alaska Region Consult: Climate Science and Services Manager Rick Thoman writes, "for a few weeks we had a small area of drought centered on Ft. Yukon indicated on the US Drought Monitor
Combined June and July rainfall included 1.03" at Ft. Yukon (~67% of normal) and only 0.71" at the Beaver Creek RAWS (located about halfway between Birch Creek Village and Beaver (village).
Included in the pictures is a sketch done in early August showing Yukon Flats area July rainfall.
LEO says: The Yukon River is believed to originate from the Llewellyn Glacier, in Northwestern British Columbia. As the river moved across Canada and Alaska, eight different rivers flow into the Yukon, fed by a combination of snowmelt, precipitation, and glacial runoff. Prior to passing the community of Fort Yukon, the Yukon is fed by the Teslin River at the Carmacks, the Pelly and Stewart Rivers from the Yukon Territory/Northwest Territories, the White River from the glaciers of the Wrangell-St. Elias Mountains. Near the community of Circle, the Charley River joins the Yukon, followed by the Nation and Kandik Rivers between Eagle and Circle. Closest to Fort Yukon, the Porcupine river joins the Yukon as it begins to flow southwest towards the Bering Sea.
Source: The USGS published a report entitled the "Environmental and Hydrologic Overview of the Yukon River Basin, Alaska and Canada" that contains information about the environmental and hydrologic characteristics of the Yukon River Basin. Beginning on page 48 in the report, authors discuss the hydrology of the Yukon and its tributaries.
This observation has been forwarded to the National Weather Service for information on area precipitation levels, and to the Alaska Pacific River Forecast Center for information on water levels.
Current Conditions for Alaska: Yukon River Streamflow – This site provides river gauge height, precipitation, and discharge for three stations along the Yukon River.
U.S. Geologic Survey – provides several informational resources relating to water. Those can be found at the USGS Mission Area: Water page.