Cold Weather Grips Interior Alaska
Thanks to a large cold airmass that refuses to budge, temperatures throughout Alaska have been well below normal for nearly two weeks. The cold snap began shortly after Christmas and daily temperature departures remain 20 to 30 degrees below normal for the 11th consecutive day. As is often the case during winter, the lowest temperatures of this cold snap remain in the sheltered valleys of the Interior region. Some locations have topped the 60 below zero mark during the first week of 2009. Ice fog has also been prevalent around inhabited areas. The weather forecast is for a relative moderation in temperatures by the weekend.
Low Temperatures Across the Area
O’Brien Creek
-64°F
Jan 5
Chicken
-62°F
Jan 4
Chalkyitsik
-62°F
Jan 3
Eagle
-60°F
Jan 4, 5
Ft. Yukon
-59°F
Jan 4
Central
-56°F
Jan 4
Dry Creek
-57°F
Jan 6
Northway
-56°F
Jan 6
Central
-56°F
Jan 4
Circle Hot Springs
-56°F
Jan 4, 5
North Pole
-58°F
Jan 3
Galena
-53°F
Jan 2, 6
Tanana
-51°F
Jan 3
Nenana
-51°F
Jan 3
Kaltag
-49°F
Jan 3
Wiseman
-48°F
Jan 6
Fairbanks Intl AP
-47°F
Jan 6
UAF West Ridge
-47°F
Jan 4
Fairbanks (Aurora)
-47°F
Jan 4
Fairbanks temperatures since December 1
Bettles
Tanana
Northway
Click on the charts for a larger image. Graphics provided courtesy of NOAA (ACIS).
PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FAIRBANKS AK
306 AM AKST WED JAN 7 2009

...THE COLD SNAP CONTINUES ACROSS THE INTERIOR...

YESTERDAY WAS THE 11TH DAY IN A ROW OF UNSEASONABLY COLD WEATHER ACROSS THE INTERIOR. THE WEATHER PATTERN WILL GRADUALLY BE UNDERGOING CHANGES LATE THIS WEEK THAT WILL LEAD TO A SLOW MODERATION IN TEMPERATURES ACROSS THE INTERIOR BY THE WEEKEND. LITTLE CHANGE IS EXPECTED THROUGH THE END OF THE WEEK...WITH
TEMPERATURES IN THE VALLEYS RANGING FROM 35 TO 55 BELOW...AND AS COLD AS 60 BELOW ON THE YUKON FLATS.

ALTHOUGH THE AIRMASS WILL MODERATE THIS WEEKEND...IT WILL BE DIFFICULT TO SCOUR THE COLD AIR OUT OF THE DEEPER VALLEYS. BY THE WEEKEND TEMPERATURES ARE NOT EXPECTED TO BE AS COLD AS THEY CURRENTLY ARE...BUT THEY WILL CONTINUE TO REMAIN BELOW NORMAL.
LONGER RANGE INDICATORS ARE NOT IN GOOD AGREEMENT...BUT THEY ALL POINT TOWARD A MORE ACTIVE WEATHER PATTERN THAT WILL LIKELY DISPLACE THE COLD AIR FROM THE VALLEYS BY EARLY NEXT WEEK.

YESTERDAY WAS THE COLDEST DAY SO FAR AT THE FAIRBANKS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT...WITH A HIGH OF 41 BELOW AND A LOW OF 47 BELOW. THIS WAS THE 2ND DAY IN A ROW WHERE THE TEMPERATURE FAILED TO CLIMB ABOVE 40 BELOW AT THE AIRPORT. IF THE TEMPERATURE FAILS TO CLIMB ABOVE 40 BELOW TODAY...IT WOULD BE FIRST TIME SINCE 1993 THAT THERE HAVE BEEN 3 CONSECUTIVE DAYS WHERE THE TEMPERATURE FAILED TO CLIMB ABOVE 40 BELOW. THE LONGEST STRETCH OF CONSECUTIVE DAYS WITH 40 BELOW OR COLDER WAS 9...WHICH WAS ESTABLISHED IN DECEMBER 1961.

SO FAR THIS MONTH THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE OF -38.6 DEGREES AT THE FAIRBANKS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT IS NEAR 30 DEGREES BELOW AVERAGE. IT HAS BEEN THE COLDEST START TO THE MONTH SINCE 2000...AND IS THE 8TH COLDEST START TO THE MONTH OF JANUARY IN THE LAST HUNDRED YEARS.

ALTHOUGH THIS COLD SNAP HAS BEEN SIGNIFICANT DUE TO IT'S DURATION...NO NEW TEMPERATURE RECORDS HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED AT FAIRBANKS...AND IT REMAINS UNLIKELY THIS COLD SNAP WILL PRODUCE ANY RECORD AT THE AIRPORT IN FAIRBANKS. THE RECORD LOW TODAY OF 55 BELOW WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1975.

SO FAR...THERE HAVE BEEN 9 DAYS WITH A MINIMUM TEMPERATURE OF 40 BELOW OR LOWER...ALTHOUGH THEY WERE NOT ALL CONSECUTIVE...AS THE LOW ON NEW YEARS DAY WAS 38 BELOW. THE ALL-TIME RECORD OF 18 CONSECUTIVE DAYS WITH MINIMUM TEMPERATURES OF 40 BELOW OR COLDER WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1964 AND AGAIN IN 1971. THERE HAVE BEEN A TOTAL OF 12 CONSECUTIVE DAYS WITH A LOW TEMPERATURE OF 20 BELOW OR LOWER. THIS RECORD IS LIKELY OUT OF REACH AS THE ALL-TIME RECORD OF 37 CONSECUTIVE DAYS WAS SET BACK IN 1917. THIS ALL CONTINUES TO SERVE AS A REMINDER THAT THERE HAVE BEEN MANY LONGER PERIODS OF COLD WEATHER AT FAIRBANKS DURING THE LAST HUNDRED YEARS.
>> For the latest Public Information Statement from the National Weather Service, click here
The National Weather Service synoptic chart for Wednesday, January 7th (below left) shows a high pressure still in place over much of the state. While the mainland of Alaska is locked into extreme low temperatures, southern reaches of the state are influenced by lows moving in from the North Pacific. Some locations have tallied up some impressive snowfall totals during the first week of 2009 (below right).
Snowfall Totals (2 - 6 Jan, 09)
Annex Creek
36.2 "
Snettisham Pwr
34.5 "
Juneau Lena Pt
31.5 "
Pelican
30.5 "
Auke Bay
27.2 "
Juneau AP
24.4 "
Canyon Island
21.6 "
Yakutat
17.6 "
>> For the latest synoptic chart from the National Weather Service, click here

Preliminary data courtesy of the National Weather Service and the Western Regional Climate Center.
Questions or comments? Contact the Alaska Climate Research Center.
Posted 7 January, 2009