Fairbanks experiences higher than average temperatures during January

Published: Jan. 18, 2021 at 6:56 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Fairbanks is experiencing higher than average temperatures during January, which is typically the coldest month of the year.

“Our average high temperatures in January, thus far this month, anywhere 0 to 2 above 0 is the normal high temperature. And so far we have only had four high temperatures this month that have been below 0 actually. So, much more above normal values than below normal,” said Jonathan Chriest, a Meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The cause for the warm weather is due to much of the cold air in the Arctic being bottled up in Siberia according to Chriest.

“That’s allowed for not only the cold air to not move over Northern Alaska. But it’s also kept the storm trek out of the south. So we’ve seen a lot of big, low pressure systems move into the Gulf of Alaska, and when that happens, we get a strong, southerly flow over the Alaska Range. And as that air moves over the Alaska Range, it gets down sloped. And as air gets down sloped it warms, and it dries out,” commented Chriest.

The warm, dry air also explains why there hasn’t been any snow to go with the warmer temperatures. But more snow may be on the way.

“But as we move into the latter half of this week, we’re actually looking for a little bit of a pattern change. We’re still going to keep temperatures on the warm side, however, the southerly flow is also going to be accompanied by a ridge over the Interior. Not a particularly strong ridge, but a very persistent ridge. And there’s currently a big low pressure system in the Gulf of Alaska, which is going to help to move this ridge off to the east so it can stop blocking all of our precipitation. And then we will transition more into a southwest flow. Which will keep temperatures warm but allow more moisture to get into the Interior in the latter half of the week,” said Chriest.

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