Fairbanks, Alaska, Hits Coldest Temperature So Late in the Season in Almost 60 Years

Chris Dolce
Published: June 13, 2018

Some residents of Alaska are having to double check the calendar to make sure it's still June after encountering cold temperatures and snow this week.

Fairbanks saw its low temperature plunge to 36 degrees on Tuesday morning, which tied the city's coldest reading so late in the season since 1960, according to Brian Brettschneider, an Alaska based climatologist.

Not only that, it was the coldest temperature recorded in Fairbanks on any day in the month of June in 12 years, the National Weather Service (NWS) noted. Tuesday's 36-degree low also tied the daily record for June 12 which was last set on that date 1931.

For perspective, the average low temperature in Fairbanks this time of year is 49 degrees and the average high is 71 degrees. Fairbanks has been as hot as 96 degrees and as cold as 28 degrees in the month of June dating to 1905.

The chilly weather this week was caused by an area of low-pressure to the north of Alaska over the Beaufort Sea. A counterclockwise flow around that low brought cold temperatures southward to Alaska's interior.

(MORE: May Was Hottest on Record for Lower 48)

An area of low pressure over the Beaufort Sea north of Alaska has brought cold temperatures and snow.

Snow has also fallen in parts of Alaska since last weekend, and more is on the way to close out the rest of the week.

A winter storm warning has been issued by the NWS for the Brooks Range in northeast Alaska where 4 to 8 inches of snow is forecast Thursday and Friday. The culprit for the snow is the aforementioned area of low pressure nudging southward toward Alaska's northern coast.

Another interesting sight in Alaska this week is a funnel cloud that was photographed near Fairbanks on Monday.

Typically you'd think of warm, humid conditions leading to the formation of a funnel cloud, but this is a bit different.

What you are seeing is a cold air funnel, and they sometimes develop from a shower or thunderstorm when cold weather conditions are present in the upper atmosphere. On rare occasions, these can reach the ground as a weak tornado, according to the NWS.

Although this week has featured cold and snowy weather in parts of Alaska, keep in mind the state is still seeing long-term warming from climate change. The first five months of 2018 have ranked as the ninth warmest on record for that period of time in our nation's 49th state, according to NOAA.


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