Category Archives: weather

Out of the Minus Fifty Woods

Yesterday was the last day of the season where the official record low in Fairbanks is -50F or colder. It’s all -40 for the month of March!

Spring is in the air.


Bomb Cyclone

New Year’s Eve storm over the Aleutians; Image credit: CIRA/NOAA

The Aleutian Chain was rocked by an incredible storm over New Years. The wonderfully named Bomb Cyclone, set a record in Alaska for a low pressure system.

High and low-pressure systems form when air mass and temperature differences between the surface of the Earth, and the upper atmosphere, create vertical currents. In a low pressure system, the air currents flow upward, sucking air away from the earth’s surface like a giant Shop*Vac.

Eareckson Air Force Base on Shemya Island recorded the record low pressure at 924.8 millibars.

The record breaking low pressure system; Image credit: Tomer Burg

A sea buoy off of Amchitka Island, registered a wave at 58.1 feet. Winds at Shemya hit gusts of 83 mph. This was an impressive storm that pummeled the outer islands of the Aleutian Chain. From Atka to Adak, the islands were seeing 40-50 foot waves and hurricane force winds.

Graphic credit: National Weather Service – Fairbanks

St Lawrence Island and the Yukon Delta saw high winds and blizzard conditions when the storm hit Alaska’s mainland.

Unlike a hurricane, which extract heat from the ocean, as they grow in power, a maritime cyclone creates energy by drawing together warm and cold air masses. It’s the energy created when the warm air rises and the cold air sinks, that gives rise to the cyclone.

Sources: NOAA, UAF, NWS, NASA


Sharin’ The Blues

Map credit: NWS Caribou, Maine

Alaska and Canada sharing some Christmas weekend love with the Lower 48. You’re welcome!


Winter Weather Advisory

Our first of the season.

It’s been an odd year, all the way around, but especially with the weather. Fairbanks had a dusting of snow last week, but nothing measurable. Anchorage had measurable snow before we did.

Juneau beat both Fairbanks and Anchorage for the season’s first freeze. Juneau! That’s just not right.

So winter is coming for Fairbanks. Even though 2-3 inches of snow is hardly much to get excited over, at least it’s a start. Denali Park & Black Rapids are at least looking to get a good jump on the season.

I guess I’m ready for snow. Let it fall.

Graphics credit: National Weather Service – Fairbanks


Streak ends at 107

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The temperature reached +33F on Sunday at the Fairbanks airport.  That ends the consecutive days streak of below freezing temperatures at 107 in Fairbanks.

The record streak of below freezing is 158 days, which happened in the winter of 1971-72.

I must admit, I thoroughly enjoyed Sunday.


Breaking Jack Frost’s grip

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The temperature finally climbed above zero, reaching 9F on Monday.  That breaks a streak of 34 days where the temp never went above 5 degrees.  It’s the fourth longest streak of its nature, since recording began.

The longest such streak is 49 days, which happened in 1942-43.

Although this season’s streak was long, it wasn’t excessively cold.  In 1975, a similar streak had several days reach -60F.  The 2020 streak saw four days where the temperature dropped to -40.

Regardless, I was thrilled to be outside on Monday in single digit temps.


Alaska Storm Surge

Color code depicts wind speed; Graphic credit: TropicalTidbits.com

A large storm is barreling into Western Alaska this week. Heavy rain and strong wind is expected. Gusts of 65-80 mph are possible.

Currently, the vast majority of Western Alaska is devoid of snow. The entire western coast has no sea ice. The ice would normally offer some protection from coastal erosion. The high winds will certainly set back any sea ice growth.

Gale force winds are expected to continue in the impacted areas through Wednesday.

That is one impressive system.


The ice has come

Bird’s eye view: First day of ice on The Pond. The beaver’s trail can be seen to the left.

For this season, we had the first 24 hour period over the weekend where the temperature did not get above freezing. It came 11 days later than on average.

The Pond received its first full coat of ice by Sunday morning. Thin as it is, one could see where the beaver swam under the ice.

The fire in the wood stove is still not going full time, however. One every other night has been enough to keep the chill out of the cabin. Anything more would drive me out of the building from the heat. As it is, an evening fire requires at least one open window at these temps.


Season’s first snow

First snow on the new beaver lodge

We had the first snowfall of the season on Saturday. Some areas had a few flurries in the air previously, but this is the first one that stuck.

On average, we see our first snow by September 30, and our first snowfall of at least an inch by October 6. So overall, I’d say we are right in the snow median this autumn.


Is this possible?

The sun is actually out, and there is a zero percent chance of rain until 9pm.

What in the world am I doing still inside?

Enjoy your day.