The National Weather Service has confirmed it: This has been an unusually warm winter so far, at least in Anchorage and Fairbanks.
In Anchorage, there has been only one day since the beginning of November -- 19 degrees measured Nov. 27 -- on which the daily average temperature slipped below the normal average of 21 degrees, according to official Weather Service records.
The average Anchorage temperature from Nov. 1 through Dec. 23 was 29.3 degrees, the second warmest on record for that time period, the Weather Service's Alaska region headquarters said on its Facebook page.
Anchorage is on track this year to post warmest or second-warmest November-December on record, the service said.
The story is similar in Fairbanks.
As of midday Wednesday, Fairbanks had not had not yet had a day this winter with a temperature of minus 20 or lower, the National Weather Service said. In only two other years on record has Fairbanks gone so long into winter without temperatures dipping to minus 20, the service said on its Facebook page.
The coldest Fairbanks has gotten this winter was Nov. 27 and 28, when temperatures fell to minus 18 degrees, said Jim Brader, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service's Fairbanks forecast office.
"We're not showing anything that looks like 20 below over the next week," Brader said Wednesday evening, when the temperature was 1 below and expected to be no lower than about zero on Christmas Day.
Fairbanks' first day this winter with a below-zero high temperature was Dec. 19, the third-latest first subzero winter high temperature on record, the National Weather Service said. Previous years in which that milestone was reached later in the winter were 2002 (Dec. 21) and 1915, when Fairbanks residents waited until Jan. 3 for the season's first subzero high temperature.
Alaska Dispatch Publishing