While the mild winter across most of the country has some people wishing for snow covered landscapes and cold, crisp mornings... there is one place where winter continues in full force! That place lies over 2,000 miles northwest of Seattle, Wash., in the state of Alaska!
Alaskans have been experiencing the most brutal winter conditions of anybody in the United States this season. Thanks to cold being bottled up across the Northwest Territories and Alaska, the season has been chock full of snow, frigid temperatures, and plenty of ice fog to go around.
In the city of Fairbanks, January 2012 will likely be the coldest January in the last 40 years, according to the National Weather Service in Fairbanks. The average temperature through the 27th is 24.7 degrees below zero. This is the coldest average through the first 27 days since 1971 when the average was 29.8 degrees below zero.
As of Saturday morning, Fairbanks International Airport has had a daily minimum temperature of 40 degrees below zero or lower for 14 days this month.
They'll easily reach 15 days as temperatures overnight and early Sunday morning dip to near 50 degrees below zero. The record for Jan 29 is 58 degrees below zero set in 1933 and, should skies remain clear, the airport would have a shot at reaching that value. However, as was the case last night and this morning, areas of dense ice fog will likely hamper their shot of breaking that record.
Ice fog is a type of fog consisting of fine ice crystals which are suspended in air. This phenomena is found only in arctic areas as water droplets can remain liquid under the right conditions down to 40 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Below 40 degrees below zero, all liquid droplets will solidify, thereby creating the ice-fog that Alaskans are used to seeing in these frigid temperatures.
Along with Fairbanks, the remainder of Alaska has been in the deep freeze for the last month.
Anchorage is running an amazing 14.3 degrees below average through the 27th and they've received 23.9 inches of snow thus far in January. That 23.9 inches of snow is double what the average amount is for the month.
Other cities, from Nome to Barrow to Juneau are running well below normal for the month in terms of temperature and amount of snowfall. But by far, the worst conditions are found across the interior.
Below-normal temperatures are forecast for the interior through the end of the month and its likely that when all is said and done, January will be in the top eight in Fairbanks in terms of coldest winters since records began in 1906.
Big changes are on the way for parts of the Western and Central states late this week and into this weekend.
Similar to the days prior to Thanksgiving, the worst weather will focus on the days prior to Christmas as millions of travelers take to the roads and airways.
Despite a brief warmup in Chicago, wintry conditions will span the weekend.
Warm air is forecast to surge into much of the eastern half of the nation by the weekend and will be accompanied by heavy rain and flooding risk in some locations.
Thunderstorms in parts of the South this weekend may become strong enough to threaten lives and property.
Tune in weekdays at 7 a.m. EST for the latest edition of AccuWeather LIVE.
Arctic blast causes temperatures to plunge to 20 to 30 below zero.
Valley Forge, PA (1777)
Continental Army encamped at Valley Forge on a day having "stormy winds and piecing cold" in-and-out winter followed.
SW Arkansas (1967)
A 200 mile wide tornado killed people along its 15 mile path from Waldo to near Bueana Vista. People from one house were carried 250 yards and cars were said to have been carried 600 yards.