Lowest Temperatures Recorded in Alaska
Temperatures that go below minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit (-56.7 degrees Celsius) are unheard of in the rest of the United States, but have been reported repeatedly in Alaska.
Alaska's below-70 weather most often occurs in January, as part of a multi-day, wide-spread cold snap. The extreme cold lingers for two or three days, leaving behind broken temperature records.
Spells of minus 70 in Alaska were documented on January 19 and 20, 1952, January 4 and 5, 1975 and on January 26 to 28, 1989. Several weather stations measured these bouts of bitter cold.
The coldest blast of weather set the US's record low temperature of minus 80 °F (-62.2 °C) on January 23, 1971. That record was made during three days of temperatures in the minus 70s which lasted from January 22 to 24 near the Arctic Circle in central Alaska.
Coldest Places in Alaska
The coldest temperatures have cropped up over a broad swath of the state. In eastern Alaska, thermometers have dropped to minus 70 or less at Tok on the Alaska highway and at Eagle near the Yukon border, due east of Fairbanks.
West of Fairbanks, in central Alaska, minus-70 weather has appeared from Manley Hot Springs to Galena. Intense cold has also occurred northwest of Fairbanks, at Allakaket and other places close to the Arctic Circle.
Although flanked by regions prone to minus 70, Fairbanks itself has avoided such severe cold. Official records claim Fairbanks has felt the weather get only as cold as minus 62 °F (-52.2 °C), which occurred at the airport on December 12, 1961.
For several of Alaska's coldest places in winter, a day of minus-70 weather has not been an isolated incident. Weather stations have recorded minus-70 temperatures more than once over the last six decades at Eagle, Tok, Manley Hot Springs and Allakaket.
The table here gives a list of official weather records for the lowest temperatures in Alaska, when temperatures registered at minus 70 or below.
|Prospect Creek Camp||-80||-62.2||January 23, 1971|
|Manley Hot Springs||-77||-60.6||January 5, 1997|
|Tanana||-76||-60.0||January 27, 1989|
|Allakaket||-75||-59.4||January 24, 1971|
|McGrath||-75||-59.4||January 27, 1989|
|Ambler West||-74||-58.9||January 26, 1989|
|Chandalar Lake||-74||-58.9||January 29, 1999|
|Coldfoot Camp||-74||-58.9||January 22, 1971|
|Manley Hot Springs||-73||-58.3||January 2, 1989|
|Aniak||-72||-57.8||January 27, 1989|
|Chicken||-72||-57.8||December 31, 1999|
|Clearwater||-72||-57.8||January 6, 1975|
|Northway||-72||-57.8||January 20, 1952|
|Eagle||-71||-57.2||January 19, 1952|
|Farewell Lake||-71||-57.2||January 28, 1989|
|Northway||-71||-57.2||January 5, 1965|
|Tok||-71||-57.2||January 5, 1965|
|Allakaket||-70||-56.7||February 25, 1954|
January 23, 1971
|Bettles Airport||-70||-56.7||January 4, 1975|
|Dietrich Camp||-70||-56.7||January 23, 1971|
|Eagle||-70||-56.7||January 5 & 6, 1975|
|Galena||-70||-56.7||January 27, 1989|
|Tanacross||-70||-56.7||December 13, 1956|
|Tok||-70||-56.7||December 13, 1964|
National Climatic Data Center. Comparative Climatic Data.