Cold air mass

Updated: 4:30 p.m.

A blast of Arctic air could bring record-low temperatures to Alaska overnight Friday and could topple a record that was set more than a century ago.

The normal high in Fairbanks this time of year is about 40 above, but the region is only expected to reach 5 above today, according to the National Weather Service. That's about 35 degrees below normal. 

Then the temperature is expected to really drop. Lows are forecast to fall to minus 30, with wind chills down to minus 45. That would topple the record low for the date of minus 16, set in 1911, and could challenge the April record low of 32 below zero. The forecast low "would be 47°F below normal, the largest negative anomaly (any time of year) since 1969," according to the World Climate Service Twitter account.

Other parts of the state could see colder temperatures, and according to climatologist Rick Thoman, a century-old state cold record could be broken.

Earlier this week, Thoman (#AlaskaWx) tweeted, "The next three days will bring historic-level cold for this time of year to parts of mainland Alaska. The state record low for April of -50F (-45.6C) might be broken." That record was set in 1911. 

Some areas were feeling the cold on Thursday.

Thursday morning, temperatures as low as minus 42 were reported for northern Alaska, with wind chills of minus 74 in Howard Pass in the Brooks Range. The pass is noted for its frigid wind chills. Atigun Pass had sustained wind chills of minus 70.

The good news is that the cold is not expected to linger. Temperatures are expected to reach 40 above on Tuesday — which would be the first time it's gotten that warm since Oct. 11, 2020.

Contact staff writer Julie Stricker at 459-7532.