The winter time period in Fairbanks saw an average temperature of -0.3°F. The normal winter value is -4.5°F. The 5 stations bested Fairbanks have winter normal temperatures in the +5°F +10°F range. While it may seems like stations in Minnesota and North Dakota would be colder than Fairbanks every couple of years, that is not the case. For the stations with the longest periods of record, Park Rapids, Pembia, Hibbing, and International Falls, you have to go back to the winter of 1976-1977 to find a season (with complete records) that was colder than Fairbanks. That winter, Park Rapids was 0.8°F warmer than Fairbanks, Hibbing was 0.5°F colder, Pembia was likely 1.1°F colder (6 missing days), and International Falls was 3.8°F colder.
As many people know, International Falls calls themselves the "Icebox of the Nation. They have even trademarked the phrase (Reg. No. 3,375,139). Well, I can't help but note that most of Alaska is (considerably) colder than International Falls during an average year. Figure 3 shows those portions of Alaska that have a lower annual average temperature than International Falls.
Fig. 2. The 1043 stations evaluated in this study.
Fig. 3. Portions of Alaska that have a warmer/colder average annual temperature than International Falls, MN. This is based on NCDC 1981-2010 normal temperatures – not measured temperatures.
* Note: Figure 1 was updated on 3/8 after Hibbing reported data for the 8 days that had been missing.