The City of Nome is located within the subarctic zone. With extremely cold winters, summer temperatures reach moderately comfortable levels. July is the warmest month of the year, with an average high temperature of 14.8 °C (58.6 °F). The coldest month is February, when average low temperatures reach a chilly -19 °C (-2.3 °F). Rainfall is fairly constant throughout the year. Snow falls every month except July and August, although it is limited (less than an inch) in June and September. The driest month is March, and the wettest is August.
Each year in the middle of March, the world-famous Iditarod Sled Dog Race ends in the Port of Nome, although events are held throughout the month. The finish line for the race is in the Port of Nome, where contestants end their almost 1.7 thousand kilometer trek through extreme wilderness conditions. During the finish, the Port of Nome population grows by some thousand people. For those who love the adventure and camaraderie of this extreme event, the Port of Nome is the place to be in March.
Since February 1984, the Iron Dog Snomobile Race has seen the world's longest snowmobile race, over three thousand kilometers, from Big Lake to Nome to Fairbanks. Confronting extremely harsh winter conditions and some of Alaska's most rugged and remote terrain, from 35 to 40 two-person teams participate each year.
For the golfer seeking a unique and extreme adventure, the Bering Sea Ice Golf Classic is held on the third Saturday of March. Golfers play six holes and use husky-pulled sleds as caddies.
The Port of Nome area has three distinct habitats (ocean, wetlands, and high alpine tundra) where more than 150 migratory species of birds visit each year. When the ice and snow begin to melt in the spring, the migration begins. Many of the species that next in the region come from mid-May to June. In mid-August, the fall migration begins. The Port of Nome is a bird-watchers paradise at these times of year.
Visitors to the Port of Nome can pan for gold on the beach. Permits are necessary, but a stretch of privately-owned beach east of Nome is opened to the public for this adventure. While people do find gold in the sand, they do not get rich. Each year, a few miners come to the Port of Nome to mine for gold while they live on the beach. Recreational mining is defined as a miner using light equipment to suction dredge a limited amount of sand, pumping no more than 30 thousand gallons of water per day.
For those who do not want to pan or mine for gold on the beach, the beaches in the Port of Nome are still a wonderful place to be. Driftwood for cooking fires or bonfires is abundant, and the rivers are filled with fish. Beach combers will find glass and other items in the same that have been carried there by Pacific currents from all over the world. With the long midnight sun and summer temperatures, it is warm enough for kayaking and windsurfing. The Nome Rotary Club holds a Midnight Sun Festival during which they sponsor the Polar Bear Swim each year.
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