Alaska News

Midwinter months break temperature records across Alaska

The National Weather Service says the midwinter season was significantly warmer than normal across Alaska.

The meteorological winter has ended -- a three-month period from Dec. 1 to the end of February, typically the coldest period of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

Barrow, King Salmon and Sitka had their warmest midwinters on record. Anchorage, Juneau and Yakutat had their second warmest midwinters on record. In addition, this midwinter season placed among the 10 warmest for many other places in the state.

Much of the state was also unusually dry, according to the agency. Denali National Park headquarters and McGrath saw their second driest midwinter seasons on record.

"Fairbanks had, by far, the lowest precipitation (and snowfall) of any December through February in more than a century of climate observations," the weather service said. It snowed 2 1/2 inches in the three months and rained 0.13 inches.

The conditions have officials concerned about the upcoming wildfire season. Mat-Su had the second reported wildfire of the year on Tuesday, getting the season off to an abnormally early start.

Conversely, Kodiak experienced its third wettest midwinter. And at the Portage Glacier Visitors Center, an hourlong drive from Anchorage, nearly 7 feet of rain fell during the period.

Jerzy Shedlock

Jerzy Shedlock is a former reporter for Alaska Dispatch News. He left the ADN in 2017.