As chilly as the recent spell may have seemed, the departure from normal for the past 2 weeks is "only" 14°F, which is quite modest for interior Alaska; the 2 weeks ending December 19 were over 23°F above normal.
The impending shift back to warmth is partly related to a very dramatic weather event that is unfolding in the stratosphere: a "sudden stratospheric warming" (SSW). In these events, which occur a few times a decade, there is a weakening and disruption of the winter-time vortex of westerly winds that usually prevails in the stratosphere above the Arctic.
In some SSW events the vortex is merely weakened and displaced away from the pole, but in the more dramatic cases the vortex splits or breaks down completely and the flow reverses to easterly around the pole for a time. The upcoming SSW will be of the latter variety; the two maps below, courtesy of tropicaltidbits.com, show the change over the course of a week beginning last Sunday. The second map shows that the vortex will split into two daughter vortices by this Sunday, with high pressure and anticyclonic flow in the middle.
These events are followed very closely in the long-range forecast community, because the disruption of the vortex usually works its way down to the troposphere and leads to a weakening of the westerly flow closer to the surface in the subsequent weeks. This in turn often allows blocking high pressure to set up and cold air to spill south into the mid-latitudes, and in particular Europe and western Asia have a strong tendency to be cold in the weeks following a SSW. Conversely, the blocking pattern tends to favor unusual warmth in southern and interior Alaska as low pressure sets up over the Bering Sea.
Of course the SSW isn't the only driver of the current circulation pattern, but the latest long-range forecasts are certainly quite consistent with the expected SSW impacts. Here are the latest MSLP and temperature forecasts for the North Pacific sector over the next 6 weeks from NOAA's CFSv2 model; the maps show the ensemble mean forecast anomaly of MSLP (left) and temperature (right) relative to a 2000-2016 normal. Based on this forecast, it wouldn't be a surprise to see some record breaking warmth in Alaska in the next several weeks.