Much of Alaska has plunged into a deep freeze over the past week, with temperatures dropping well below zero degrees Fahrenheit across most of the state. A snow machine has also brought a record-amount of snow to Alaska.
Longest Stretch of Cold Weather
Anchorage, Alaska's largest city, has seen some of its coldest temperatures in over 15 years, forcing the mayor to open emergency warming shelters as the city surpassed 100 inches of snow this season.
Further north in Fairbanks, the state's second-largest city, the temperatures stayed between minus 30 and minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit for much of the past week – the longest stretch of such cold weather in years according to meteorologists.
Snow in Juneau, Alaska's capital, recorded 6.4 feet of snow in January, while smaller towns like Kotzebue saw heating fuel freeze and water pipes burst as the temperatures plummeted to minus 30 degrees and lower.
The extreme cold has brought the daily operations of Alaskan communities to a halt and tested the infrastructure meant to withstand such harsh conditions.
Power failures left homes across the state without heat, forcing people into emergency shelters to avoid freezing temperatures. Flights were grounded, cars failed to start, and schools were repeatedly closed as officials struggled with failing equipment.
For most Alaskans, accustomed to long, dark, freezing winters, the recent cold was almost unbearable. Anchorage resident DuShan Vujnovic called it “too much,” the worst winter he has experienced after five years in Alaska working for the state’s railroad.
Although Southeast Alaska was comparatively warmer, reaching close to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, the subzero temperatures dominated headlines across the state.