FAIRBANKS—Fairbanks has recorded the coldest temperatures of the winter, resulting in unhealthy air for sensitive groups in downtown Fairbanks and a freeze up at the Fox Spring water fill north of town.
Fairbanks International Airport hit minus 33 degrees around 10 a.m. Friday, colder than the average low of 17 below but not nearly as cold as the record low of minus 60 hit in 1934.
The cold snap is a normal winter weather pattern, according to National Weather Service Forecaster Ryan Metzger.
"We just had, basically, cold arctic air that's moved in from the north, providing pretty cold temperatures," he said. "The places that got cold are nowhere near record cold; it's just colder than we have been all winter, really."
High temperatures have been around 22 below in recent days.
Western Interior Alaska has seen the state's coldest temperatures. Clear Creek, northeast of Huslia, fell to 57 below Wednesday morning. Forecasts predict a slight warming trend in the coming days.
Alaska's Department of Transportation and Public Facilities first became aware of a freeze-up at Fox Spring on Friday morning.
Spokeswoman Caitlin Frye said the department's facilities manager expects the freeze-up to be "pretty significant." All that is known so far is that heat trace on the well stopped working when a circuit was tripped, and resetting the circuit did not help.
"It's definitely an electrical issue at its core. Not sure if the power outages had anything to do with it," she said.
To avoid paying overtime, the department will wait until Monday before sending an electrician to the site for further investigation.
In July 2017, Friends of Fox Spring entered an agreement with DOT that the friends would pay maintenance costs if the department performs the work — usually between $20,000 and $50,000 annually.
The well also froze up in late November, although Frye was unsure of the cause or how it was resolved.
Contact staff writer Robin Wood at 459-7510. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMcity.