Alaska News

From the Arctic to Anchorage, Alaska communities experience record high temperatures

Unusually cold weather has struck again in the Lower 48, but communities across Alaska have experienced high-temperature records this week. From the Arctic to the Alaska Peninsula and even Anchorage, Alaskans are sweating through February temps as high as the mid-50s, according to the National Weather Service.

In Anchorage, a 30-year-old record was wiped out Tuesday when the temperature reached 44 degrees at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, beating the previous mark of 43 degrees set in 1984. Unofficial temperatures in other parts of the city approached 50 degrees on Tuesday.

The winter's topsy-turvy weather trend continued Wednesday afternoon, with Anchorage above freezing at 34 degrees while temperatures in New York and Boston were 27 degrees.

In Kotzebue, 26 miles above the Arctic Circle in Northwest Alaska, a record high of 30 degrees set in 2006 was eclipsed Tuesday when the mercury hit 32.

The warmth came as Interior Secretary Sally Jewell visited Kotzebue this week at the invitation of the Alaska Federation of Natives -- in part to discuss the issue of climate change in the region -- and experienced temperatures similar to those being seen in Washington, D.C.

Bettles, on the banks of the Koyukuk River in Alaska's Interior, reached 28 degrees Tuesday. The old record of 26 degrees was set more than two decades ago, in 1993.

Temperatures in several Southeast Alaska communities broke records this week. In Sitka, the temperature at the airport Tuesday hit 54 degrees. The old Sitka record for Feb. 17 had been 52 in 1998.

And in Yakutat, a 38-year-old record was broken Monday when the temperature hit 47 degrees. The previous record of 44 was set in 1977.

McGrath, 269 miles southwest of Fairbanks in Interior Alaska, hit 26 degrees Tuesday, blowing away the previous record of 21 set in 1947.

On the Alaska Peninsula on Monday, Cold Bay matched a record of 41 degrees set in 1993.

Alaska has been experiencing an unusually warm and low-snow winter this year. The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race was forced to move its official restart from the Southcentral community of Willow to Fairbanks in the Interior for the second time in its 43-year history, due to lack of snow and rough trail conditions in the southern portion of the state.

Megan Edge

Megan Edge is a former reporter for Alaska Dispatch and Alaska Dispatch News.