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
-41F Tok AKTAS RAWS
-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.