2014 may be first year ever with no below-zero temps in Anchorage

With just a few days left in 2014, it's all but certain that this year will go down in history as the first recorded calendar year that the temperature never officially dipped below zero in Anchorage, the National Weather Service said Sunday.

The last time the official temperature in Anchorage read below zero was Dec. 26, 2013, according to National Weather Service records.

Not a single day in 2014 has dipped into negative temperatures, though meteorologists did record a reading of zero degrees, the year's lowest, on Feb. 11, said NWS meteorologist Mike Ottenweller.

And with balmy temperatures forecast through New Year's Day, the no-below-zero-temperatures streak is highly unlikely to end before 2014 does, he said.

"With as much certainty as a meteorologist can put behind anything, there is no chance we will go below zero before the end of the year," Ottenweller said.

That would make 2014 the first calendar year -- from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 -- since the NWS started keeping data on the subject in 1952 that didn't include a single day with a recorded low temperature below zero in Anchorage.

"It's strange to think about it," Ottenweller said. "Because you're basically spanning two winters."


Anchorage has an average of about 25 days per calendar year when the official temperature, which is recorded by a weather station at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, starts with a minus, Ottenweller said.

The frigid year of 1957 had a record 75 below-zero days.

But the calendar year without a below-zero temperature doesn't mean Anchorage is even close to setting a record for its longest consecutive streak of zero-or-above days.

That record started on Jan. 18, 2000, and ended 683 days later, in the next calendar year, on Nov. 30, 2001, according to NWS data.

To beat that span, Anchorage would have to go until Nov. 12, 2015, without another day below zero.

Michelle Theriault Boots

Michelle Theriault Boots is a longtime reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. She focuses on in-depth stories about the intersection of public policy and Alaskans' lives. Before joining the ADN in 2012, she worked at daily newspapers up and down the West Coast and earned a master's degree from the University of Oregon.