Monday, January 5, 2015

Cold At Last

The coldest weather of the season arrived for much of interior Alaska over the weekend, and this morning the COOP site at Chicken reached -50 °F.  As far as I'm aware, this was the first observed -50 °F temperature in the state this winter.  This depth of winter cold is typically reached by mid-December somewhere in the state (1950-2013 median December 6, 1976-2013 median December 14).  Other chilly readings from today include:

-44F  Bettles SNOTEL
-43F  Fort Yukon RAWS
-38F  Northway
-36F  Ruby 44ESE CRN

It's interesting to note that in 17 winters of reasonably complete data, the Chicken COOP has never failed to reach -50 °F at some point.  The median for lowest winter temperature is -63 °F, and this even beats Alaska's winter pole of cold, Umiat (median of -59 °F).  In this connection I'll refer back to a classic post by Rick concerning the coldest spot in the state:

The coldest so far today at Fairbanks airport is -30 °F, and the daily high will probably be -22 °F, making this the first substantially (more than 1 standard deviation) colder than normal day since early October.

It took a long time, but the Tanana River at Nenana finally appears to be completely frozen over today; open water was still visible from the Ice Classic webcam just a couple of days ago.


  1. A request please.

    Glenallen can be a cold place that's separated yet may parallel Fairbanks to some degree for temperatures during cold spells. Could you offer a Blog at some time of the two locations and their comparative temperature history?


    1. Gary, I'll be glad to look at it soon. There is a long history of temperature data from Gulkana airport that should be suitable for the comparison.

    2. It's not critical Richard, but I've wondered for years why that area is singularly cold like Fairbanks. I can see elevation and drainage advection (like Chisana, Northway, and Chicken) having an effect on temperatures. But Gulkana/Glenallen appear somewhat unique.

      I worked for someone that lived there right after Statehood and the comment was it was often a cold spot in winter.