FAIRBANKS - Another day, another record.
The record cold snap that has gripped the Interior for the past week continued on Monday when a new record low temperature of 38 degrees below zero was recorded at Fairbanks International Airport early in the morning. The old record low was 35 below set back in 1904, the first year the National Weather Service began keeping records in Fairbanks.
It was the fifth straight day and the sixth out of the past seven days that a new record low temperature has been recorded at the airport. The last time so many consecutive temperature records were set at Fairbanks was during the record cold snap of September 1992.
The current cold snap began on Nov. 15 when the temperature dropped to 20 below. It has remained 20 below or colder since.
Monday marked a record seventh consecutive day with a low temperature of 35 below or colder at the airport. That has never happened before so early in the winter in Fairbanks. The old record was only two days in 1989.
Through Sunday, the high temperature had been 20 below or colder for five days in a row and there is a good chance it won’t get warmer than that today, which would make it six days in a row.
With an average temperature of 22.6 below, the week of Nov. 13-19 ranked second behind 1969 as the second-coldest week before Thanksgiving on record.
But the string of cold weather records looks like it will come to end on Tuesday. While temperatures will remain well below normal this week, they are expected to moderate slightly when a low pressure system now along the arctic coast descends south quickly into the Gulf of Alaska.
The air mass aloft will be colder than the air mass that has gripped the Interior for the past week but the push of cold air will be accompanied by clouds and areas of light snow or flurries. The clouds will act as an insulator and keep temperatures somewhat warmer than the past week. Temperatures much of this week are expected to be in the 10 to 25 below range, according to the National Weather Service.
“We’re expecting some cloud cover to come in, which will keep temperatures from being quite as cold for the rest of the week,” meteorologist Dan Hancock said.
Unlike the last few days, when temperatures in the hills were considerably warmer than the valley floor because of a low level inversion, there will likely be little difference in the temperatures this week between the hills and valleys.
“The air mass is going to be quite cold, not just at the surface but all the way up,” Hancock said.
Contact staff writer Tim Mowry at 459-7587.
Monday marked the fifth day in a row and sixth in the last seven that a new record cold temperature was recorded at Fairbanks International Airport. Here are new record lows with the old record in parenthesis.
Date New record Old record
Nov. 21 -38 -35
Nov. 20 -37 -33
Nov. 19 -36 -33
Nov. 18 -36 -33
Nov. 17 -41 -39
Nov. 15 -35 -33