As a rule, it is clear but few days in the year ; usually, however, in June and July, the sun pierces the deep and heavy clouds that settle over the mountains, and brightens up the landscape. When the sun is obscured, it is liable to rain for days, and sometimes for two or three weeks at a time, But rains here are not so cold and chilly, as in most countries, where cloudy or rainy weather prevails for long periods, and, as a rule, are warm and soft.The average rainfall along the coast is not far short of one hundred inches a year, and at Unalaska, in 1884, one hvtndred and fift3′-five inches was recorded.The fall of snow in the coast country is also considerable. At times it covers the earth to a depth of three feet on a level, but is usually damp, and a snow storm is apt to turn into rain in a few hours, causing the huge bank and drifts to disappear.
The mercury rarely falls to zero in any part of the southern coast country, it is more likely to register above freezing point than below during the greater part of the winter.The climate is much dryer in the interior, rain occurring as a rule, only in the spring and summer. In severe showers it is sometimes accompanied by fierce thunder and lightning, which rarely is known on the coast.Probably no other section of this continent presents such a diversity of climate as Alaska. The heat of the summer in the interior is sometimes intense, often registering over one hundred degrees in the shade, and it has been known to burst a spirit, thermometer after graduating up to one hundred and twenty. Summer heat, however, is quickly followed by winter cold, and the mercury will fall to fifty or sixty degrees below zero.
On one occassion, at Fort Yukon, it was known to have reached seventy degrees below zero. The winter begins about the first of October and lasts until the first of June. The mean temperature during the months of December, January, and February, is about twenty-four degrees below zero.
This cold weather and long period of winter is felt to within a very few^ miles of the coast, or from the point where the mountains are crossed.The tundra moss-covered regions, suitable for reindeer grazing, prevail throughout the whole western coast country, and, in the interior, for many miles nutritious grass and moss are everywhere found in abundance.