National Oceanic Atmosphere Administration National Weather Service Headquarters National Weather Service Headquarters
NOAA logo WFO Anchorage Scalable transition graphic NWS logo
Transition from title bar to navgation bar    19 AKDT 
blankspace Home   |   Mobile   |   Social Media   |   Mesonet   |   Surface Map   |   Radar   |   Submit Storm Reports =03 GMT 

LocalForecast by City, St or Zip Code

spacer

Forecasts/Products
  Public
  Forecast Discussion
    - With Glossary
  Aviation
  Marine
  Hydrology(RFC)
  Rivers & Lakes AHPS
  Ice Desk
  TV Weather
  Fire Weather
  Avalanche
  Travel 511
  Graphical
  xml logo RSS Feeds
  Marine FTPMail

spacer

Data
  Mesonet
  Model Graphics
  Local Model
  Observations
  Marine Obs
  Satellite/Radar
  Vent Factor
  Soaring Index
  Weather Links

spacer

Climate
  PAFC Climate
  Interactive Climate
  PAFC Records
  Local
  National
  More

spacer

Outreach
  About Us
  Community Outreach
  Kids' Page
  Tour/Speaker Request
  Weather Classroom
  Social Media

spacer

Reports
  COOP Observers
  Local Storm Reports
  Spotter Page
  Submit a Storm Report

spacer

Miscellaneous
  Archived Alaska Weather Stories
  Student Career Opportunities
  Research Papers

spacer

Print Friendly/
Low Bandwidth

  Public Forecasts
  Marine Forecasts

spacer

Contact Us
  mailto pafcweb

spacer

Facebook Follow the National Weather Service in Alaska on Twitter
USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.




An Analysis of the Classic Arctic Outbreak Event of Late December 2008-Early January 2009

By Christian M. Cassell

Quick Links
Overview | Analysis | Stratospheric Role | Conclusions


The 2008-2009 winter was characterized by colder than normal temperatures and above normal snowfall for each month from October through March. While there was no one significant snow event that overshadowed any other this past winter, a bitterly cold Arctic outbreak that persisted for more than two weeks brought the coldest temperatures in a decade to the Anchorage area, and grabbed headlines around the world for extreme cold in interior parts of the state. This analysis will show how the outbreak developed and how it was able to persist for a prolonged period of time.

1.    Summary of temperatures and records from the outbreak

The following chart is a breakdown of temperatures and extremes at Anchorage during the two week Arctic outbreak.

       *-Indicates a record low value for that particular date.
       **-Indicates tying or setting of the lowest temperature of this decade (2000-2009).


Though it is arbitrary as to when the outbreak began and ended based on the numbers, the temperature at Anchorage dropped below zero degrees during the evening hours of December 29th, and remained below zero until January 8th except for a one-hour period during the afternoon of January 5th when the temperature managed to make it to 0.4 degrees briefly during the mid afternoon hours. This represented the longest streak of sub-zero days since 30 January . 5 February 1999.

Additionally, the eleven-day streak (29 Dec . 8 Jan) with the minimum temperature falling to -10 degrees or lower from the official reporting station at the National Weather Service office on Sand Lake Road was the longest such streak since 17-29 December 1961. Therefore, while there were no record low minimum temperature values set at the official temperature station in Anchorage, the duration of the cold in terms of minimum temperatures at or below -10 degrees was the longest such stretch in 47 years.

Go to next page


Quick Links
Overview | Analysis | Stratospheric Role | Conclusions




  Click to return to the historical story main page.

National Weather Service
Anchorage Forecast Office
6930 Sand Lake Road
Anchorage, Ak 99502
(907) 266-5105 M-F/7-5pm
About Us
Career Opportunities
Glossary
Disclaimer
Privacy Policy
Credits
Alaska Weather Information Line:
1-800-472-0391