Sunday, April 28, 2013

Significant Record Low at Fairbanks

Courtesy of Pro Music, Fairbanks
Updated with additional observations and faciods…

Temperatures dropped to near zero overnight. The low temperature at the Fairbanks Airport of +2ºF easily broke the previous record of 8 above set in 1924, and is among the coldest temperatures so late in the season (more below). Other low temperatures include:

Chena Hot Springs: -8ºF
Goldstream Creek: -6ºF
Woodsmoke CWOP: -3ºF
Mile 43 Steese: -2ºF
Fort Wainwright: -1ºF
Eielson AFB: +1ºF
UAF West Ridge: +2ºF
Wickersham Dome: +6ºF
Keystone Ridge: +8ºF

The low of +2F at the airport makes this among the lowest temperatures so late in the season. The only lower temperatures later than April 28th are a low of 0ºF on May 3, 1945 and the -1ºF on May 9, 1964. At UAF West Ridge and Eielson, with obs since the 1940s, these are the lowest temperatures of record this late in the season.

Obviously the sustained cold  weather has kept break-up at bay. The photo from Pro Music Sunday morning, looking south across the Chena River, hardly even shows any frozen melt water on top of the ice.


  1. It should be a dramatic break-up when it finally happens. This also seems like a remarkably late date for Keystone Ridge. Is that the coldest this late in the season for there too? (I know there are only 10 or 15 years of data). I'm surprised the inversion wasn't stronger, but maybe there is too much sun this time of year.
    Matthew K.

    1. Matthew, The +8F at Keystone Ridge (17 years) is the lowest so late in the least, but not by a lot. I had 11F last year on May 2 and 12F on May 4, 2002.

      Yeah, I think just not enough time now for strong inversions to develop when it's cooling aloft. Of course, with a warm airmass can get 20+ degree inversions even in June and July.

    2. Interesting that it wasn't very notable at elevation, but broke a fairly old record at the surface. Is there more snow cover left than normal? Maybe that helps with the radiational cooling (along the lines of falling off the cliff in October).

    3. Yes, I'm sure that's a major factor. The 17" snow depth Sunday AM is the most snow on the ground at the airport this late in the season since 1992 and this will be the first time the airport has gone into May with measurable snow on ground since then too. On the hill we've had 20+ inches on the ground at this point four of the past 17 years and 10+ inches in the majority of the years.


  2. You read it here first in earlier Blogs:


  3. Fun factoid or depressing maybe, -40 since Oct 10 (including the 10th) 15 times. +40 how many times? From 'History and Almanac' 'April Calendar View' and then going through each month. Assume its Airport Temp.
    10 times so far.
    But if we get to May 10 it'd be 7 months where there were more -40 days than +40 days.