Weather Blog

Minnesota: A tropical paradise compared to Alaska

Minnesota: A tropical paradise compared to Alaska
We might have just been through one of our coldest stretches in ages -- Seattle had a few days in late December where the high temperature was only in the mid 20s.

But how about a place where it's 55 degrees colder?  Some bitterly cold arctic air has been entrenched in central Alaska, keeping them quite cold -- even by their standards!

Fairbanks hasn't been warmer than -20 since Dec. 27th. Over the past 13 days, 11 of them have had low temperatures below -40 (the other two are -39 and -38.)  Some of the other cities nearby have seen temperatures recorded at -60 and it's been stuck there for two weeks as well. Even Anchorage has had lows stuck in the -15 to -20 range for several days -- a solid 10 degrees below their normals.

In all, it's the third longest cold snap in the region's history.

But Alaska isn't sharing all the limelight. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan has had 24 consecutive days where the low temperature has dipped at or below -25C (-13F). It's their longest streak of that cold since records began in 1862.

Seattle climate geeks will want to note -- the old "record' was 21 days set in January 1950 -- the same month that kept western Washington into weeks of an arctic grip -- more than half of the January low temperature records and most of the first part of February's were all set in 1950.