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Alaska Endures Record Cold While Still Buried Under Snow

By By Alex Sosnowski, expert senior meteorologost.
May 15, 2013, 4:42:36 AM EDT

The central and eastern United States are not the only areas experiencing a colder-than-average spring. Alaska is also hanging on to winter's chill and snow.

The five-week period from April 3 to May 7 was the coldest in 109 years of record keeping at Fairbanks, Alaska, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

Temperatures during this period averaged only 19.9 degrees and broke the old record for the same stretch of days set in 1924.

According to Expert Senior Meteorologist Joe Lundberg, "Fairbanks has not had a day above 50 degrees since Oct. 4, 2012."


The chilly streak was the fourth longest on record.

The normal high for May 8 is 58 degrees at Fairbanks.

To go along with the cold, the city still had 10 inches of snow on the ground as of the midday hours on May 8, this was despite having a near-average amount of snow for the winter season at 68.5 inches. The average amount for Fairbanks is 64.5 inches.

Snow has been consistently covering the ground since Oct. 15 in Fairbanks.

As of May 8, there is about 18 hours of daylight.

In Nome, Alaska, temperatures have averaged close to 10 degrees below normal for the first week of May and 5 degrees below normal since April 1.

Farther south in Alaska, Anchorage only recently lost its snow cover.

"May 3 was the last day with 0.50 of an inch or greater of snow on the ground, and there has been snow consistently on the ground since Nov. 13," Lundberg said.

The record for the greatest number of days with 0.50 of an inch or more of snow on the ground for Anchorage is 193 days set during the winter of 1971-72, when snow was on the ground from Oct. 23 to May 3.

Anchorage has received about 92 inches of snow so far this winter season, compared to a normal of about 75 inches.

During the prior winter, Anchorage set a seasonal snowfall record with 134.5 inches. The old record was 132.6 inches during the winter of 1954-55, according to the NWS.

Interestingly, all 133 inches of snow from the winter of 2011-12 had melted by April 25.

"This just goes to show how consistently cold this spring has been over a large part of Alaska," Lundberg added.

Temperatures are forecast to reach the 50s to near 60 degrees over a large part of central and southern Alaska for multiple days over the next week, bringing closure to the winter for many folks over the Last Frontier.

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