Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Temps... food for thought

We are often asked (um, challenged, at times) to compare our climate to other cold places in the Lower 48... places like Montana, Wyoming, Missouri, the Dakotas and northern New England. Well, it's kind hard to say... but here are a few things to consider based on Fairbanks weather data (we tend to be a few degrees colder down here):
  • November to March the average high remains below freezing and our average low remains below 0F/-16C
  • January is the coldest month, average high is 1F/-17C and average low is -17F/-27C, only 2.5 hours of visible daylight; record low of -66F/-54C, record high of 52F/11C
  • October & April we bounce between just-above freezing and just-above 0F/-16C (sometimes daily, sometimes hourly)
  • July is the warmest month, average high is 73F/23C and average low is 52F/11C, 24 hours of visible daylight; record high of 99F/37C, record low of 30F/-1C
  • Annual (across the entire year) average high is 38F/3C and average low is 17F/-8
  • Average snowfall is 65"/165cm over 61 days, and average rainfall 10.8"/275mm over 109 days; the remaining 195 days it is too cold for precipitation
  • Maximum average frost-free days are 102, between mid-June and early-September
  • Heating Degree Days approximately 14,000
  • All of Interior Alaska (including Fairbanks) contain discontinous permafrost, i.e. soil remains below freezing for two or more consecutive years. Only high altitude mountain ranges (particularly the Rockies) contain isolated pockets of permafrost in the Lower 48.
  • Our location is classified USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 1b/2a, no state in the Continental US falls below 3a (although microclimates that fit the criteria may exist).
So, make of that what you will... I'm going to go stack more firewood :D


Misty Pines Homestead said...

Sounds like a freezer to me LOL.I tried to get hubstead to move up there,HA he said he spent some time there while he was in the Army and he said no way!

Daniel said...

Daniel said .... I just read your entire blog and i must say you two have some TRUE GRIT in your blood.You have done a fantastic job with everything.I have been looking at land up there to i hope to be heading that way next april.You two keep up the good work.

Journey To Wellness said...

I can comment as to the weather difference between Fairbanks and Missouri (I'm from Kansas City). I would Say that Kansas City is closer to Anchorage in temperature, but only during late Fall. After that-there's no place like Alaska ;-)

Cat said...

I would love to experience an Alaskan winter just one time. Down south we hardly ever get snow or temps lower than 20. I would love to see deep snow and see how people deal with this on a regular basis. In NC the whole world comes to a stand still if we have more than 1-2inches, schools close, businesses close, grocery stores are overrun. People loose their minds if we get 3-4 inches of snow. Nobody can drive in it, wrecks all over the place.

Plickety Cat said...

Things shutting down up here usually has more to do with temps than snowfall. In the rural areas, at least, Dept of Transportation won't run the plows if it's below -20F... which normally isn't that bad because it's too cold to snow at -20F, BUT if there is any wind blowing the drifts can quickly block off the roads.

I think the last "snow day" our little village school had was when it was -50F and half the students couldn't get in because vehicles wouldn't start ;) Only the kids close enough to walk showed up, and were served hot cocoa and sent back home. But, most Alaskan schools have an extended winter break, running longer in the spring and starting earlier in the fall than schools in the L48.

Plickety Cat said...

Ann - LOL, you just reminded me... many of the meat processors and dog mushers actually go into their walk-in freezers to WARM UP in the winter.

Plickety Cat said...

I spent time in Yellowstone NP, one of the coldest places in the L48, during the winter. It was darned cold, and certainly got as cold as it has gotten here... but it was also a mile high, had 50MPH winds, and that super-cold snap only lasted about 4 days.

I think it's telling that many areas get a cold snap -10 for a week or so; and we get a warm spell of -10 for a week... and +10 during a Chinook is positively balmy ;)

Gungnir said...

Well I'll add my opinion.

The thing I still find weird is that when it's "only" -20F after being at -30F or below of a week, you're outside and thinking "Hey, it's quite warm out today..."

I still can't get my head around that, it's practically insane when you think about it.

Marybeth said...

I get pissy when it's 20 outside, and I can only get my house up to 70. Then I remember that's 50 degrees warmer than the outside. You get used to it though. I'm positive I didn't have the same aversion to cold when I lived in Anchorage as I do now.