Interior Shivers as Winds Intensify Cold Snap

Feb 1, 2021

Fairbanks and the rest of the eastern Interior is in for some bone-chilling weather over the next couple of days – especially after winds kick up this evening.

The National Weather Service says cold air moved into the eastern Interior over the weekend, bringing the chilliest overnight low temperatures recorded so far this winter.

The National Weather Service's wind chill warning remains in effect through Tuesday evening for much of the eastern Interior -- areas shown in red on this weather service map.
Credit National Weather Service

“We have a cold-air mass that has settled over all of northern Alaska, and we’ve had temperatures range from basically zero to 40 below,” says weather service meteorologist Jim Brader. He says that’s much chillier that this winter’s previous lowest-recorded temperature.

“We hit 29 below on the 4th of November, so we haven’t hit 30 below,” he said in an interview Sunday.

The weather service predicts the mercury will drop to 41 below zero tonight in Fairbanks, but winds out of the northeast will make that feel like 60 below. Stronger winds around Delta Junction will bring the wind-chill factor in that area even lower, to 65, even 70 below. So the weather service has issued a wind-chill warning that’s effective through Tuesday afternoon for Fairbanks and Nenana, and early Wednesday morning for Delta.

“We’re looking for the coldest conditions to be really on Tuesday,” he said.

Fairbanks is forecast to drop to 31 below Tuesday night, and slightly less cold elsewhere around the Interior. Those kinds of values are not unusual for this time of year, but Brader says it may seem so because this winter has been pretty mild so far.

“Yeah – warmer winters,” he said, “but, probably the biggest difference is really the absence of the extreme cold.”

Brader said Sunday this winter’s sparse snowfall also differs from the norm.

“Up through last night, we only had three-tenths of an inch of snow for the whole month,” he said.

Brader says after the cold snap peters out later this week, he’s expecting near-normal temperatures through the month of February in the eastern Interior.