Siberian air, Polar Vortex to blast Alaska with lowest temperatures of season so far early this week
By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
November 19, 2017, 6:57:59 PM EST
Bitterly cold air with origins from northern Siberia will race across Alaska into early this week.
The pattern will deliver the lowest temperatures of the season so far to much of the state by a wide margin, according to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams.
"For example, Fairbanks, Alaska, experienced temperatures averaging 11 degrees Fahrenheit above normal during the first half of November," Abrams said. "The average high for the middle November for the city is 10."
Temperatures dipped as low as minus 26 in Fairbanks on Saturday. Several more temperature readings below zero are in store through early week.
The Polar Vortex is forecast to elongate enough to direct air from Siberia to Alaska. The Polar Vortex is a large circular storm in the upper atmosphere that tends to keep frigid air locked up near the North Pole. Occasionally, this storm can change its shape or shift its position. When this happens, arctic air can dip well to the south and sometimes reach the mid-latitudes.
When air passes from Siberia across part of the Arctic and into North America, it often delivers extreme cold during the late fall, winter and early spring to part of North America. This is because it passes over vast areas that receive little to no warming effects by the sun. Sometimes, Alaska is first in the path of the Siberian air.
The sun has set for the last time this year in Utqiagvik, formerly known as Barrow, Alaska.
Utqiagvik is located on the northern tip of Alaska, at the edge of the Beaufort Sea, and lies well within the Arctic Circle.
The sun will not rise in Utqiagvik until Jan. 22, 2018, and will only be up for less than an hour that day. In absence of direct sunlight, Utqiagvik will still receive a few hours of twilight each day from late November through mid-January.
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Temperatures are forecast to hover within a few degrees of zero on Monday.
By the time the air reaches Juneau, located near the North Pacific Ocean, it will moderate a bit. However, temperatures will still average 10-20 degrees below normal.
Despite the prior warmth over the interior, the Bering Sea coast and North Slope, winter has already begun to step up its game on the "Last Frontier" this month.
A couple of storms have delivered accumulating snow to Anchorage and Juneau, Alaska, so far in November.
A new storm will bring up to a few inches of snow to Anchorage on Sunday.
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