Alaska hits 60F in warmest December on record

December 2017 has been described by the NWS as an ‘exceptionally mild’ month throughout Alaska. The major cities of Anchorage, Juneau and now Fairbanks are witnessing their warmest December on record, among countless other places.

Credit: Rick Thoman

According to climatologist Brian Brettschneider, Fairbanks is running an astonishing 20 above normal for the first 20 days of December with every day above normal except for Dec 1 with highs in the 30s and lows in the 10s. Bare in mind that Fairbanks should see daytime single digits and -10 at night!

Rick Thoman

Pretty remarkable to see these highs and departure from normal in Fairbanks.

On Dec 8, Juneau soared to a December record tying 54 degrees. When this high occurred, it was warmer than Houston, TX.

Mid month saw Anchorage exceed 45 degrees for 4 straight days, a new record. A low of 37 degrees matched the warmest low of any winter month.

Bettles (north central) and Kotzebue (west coast), tied their warmest December highs with 38 and 37 degrees respectively.

In a place so brutally cold, one might think this mild weather is welcome. No so, Brettschneider says. “People do not like the warm temperatures,” he said in an email. “It makes things very icy when the temperatures get above freezing. Since the ground is frozen several inches thick, snow melting on the surface freezes to the ground (or road). Because the sun is so low, it does not melt the ice directly. Ice can hang around for weeks and even months.”

Excerpt from CWG article.

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