Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Climatology When Clock Strikes Midnight at the New Year

** Updated on January 1, 2014 **

What should residents of the Golden Heart City wear when out celebrating at midnight New Year's Eve? Well, when looking back at the climate record, I would suggest something between warm and very, very warm. Richard pointed me to the ISH hourly record database a few days ago so I pulled all the observations that were available for Fairbanks and selected the ones for midnight at the New Year. Since 1941, the average temperature at midnight was -9°F. The coldest temperature was a bone chilling -53°F to ring in 1969 and the warmest was just one year later when it was a rather balmy 30°F. Six of the 74 years recorded dense fog at midnight and is was snowing 13 times. On the chart, any amount of cloudiness was identified as 'cloudy'.


  1. No one is posting comments...

    The very variable forecast is calling for -5 temperatures - above normal. Much nicer than -40.

    Happy New Year! Is it really 2014?

  2. Thanks for the comment Eric. There seems to be a dichotomy of temperatures. Very few instances of temperatures between 0° and -10°F but a lot between 0°F and +10°F. In 2009 I stood outside at a New Year's party for 3 hours at -17°F. I cannot fathom doing that at -40° or colder.

  3. As some say, it's a dry cold in the Interior due to the lack of humidity. I'm not sure how much humidity and the Dew Point spread affects the perception of cold, but it might have to do with specific heat and the transfer rate of dry versus wet air. It's running in the mid 50% range now near Fairbanks on the valley floor.


  4. The chart was updated to show the -1°F observation to ring in 2014.

  5. I read that the latest sunset in the contiguous United States on December 31 occurs in Point Reyes, California. Is that true?

    1. It sounds plausible, but this is a question for Brian Brettschneider (former contributor on this blog). You can find him on Twitter at @Climatologist49