Nearly all of the United States has been dominated by warmth throughout the month of January. The one place that was not? Alaska.
Alaska has been in winter’s icy grip and it has been enough to make it the state’s coldest January since 2012. Average monthly temperatures across the state have been well below zero throughout the interior, and across the North Slope. Departures have been running 10-15 degrees below long-term normals.
Anchorage dropped to or below zero 19 times during the month. It’s the highest number of times since January 2012, and is more than the past 7 Januarys combined.
Fairbanks plunged below -20 degrees on 24 separate occasions. 18 of those mornings were -30 degrees or colder, and 3 of those morning dropped into the -40s.
Fairbanks also set a record for the coldest January maximum temperature. The highest that the thermometer ever got in January was 4 degrees. All other Januarys in the period of record notched a temperature of at least 5 degrees. For comparison, last year Fairbanks hit 34 degrees (above zero) on two separate occasions.
Finally in Utqiagvik, formerly known as Barrow, the thermometer stayed below -20 degrees on five separate days. This was also the highest frequency of days since January 2012, and in 5 of the last 7 years, a high temperature that cold was not recorded at all.