Anchorage finally records subzero temperatures

Posted: Wednesday, December 05, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- High pressure up north and clear skies overhead finally sent temperatures in Anchorage below zero over the weekend -- the first time for that official mark in 683 days.

The low reported by the National Weather Service sunk to minus 6 on Saturday and Sunday and had hit minus 9 by early Monday morning, according to forecaster and technician John Stepetin.

The last time Anchorage saw weather so frigid at its official measuring station near Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport was Jan. 17, 2000.

The warm spell since then, set largely by a jet stream that delivered a succession of sloppy marine systems last winter, broke the 1980 record of 324 days without any subzero temperatures.

Anchorage's cold snap would hardly be worth mentioning in communities farther north. On Monday it plummeted to minus 40 in Northway and minus 29 in Fairbanks.

It's not even particularly cold for Anchorage, only about 2 degrees below normal, Stepetin reported.

''This air really just cooled off on top of us,'' added head meteorologist Bob Hopkins. ''It's cool. It's not really cold for this time of year. If we were in a real Arctic air mass, we'd be 15 to 20 degrees colder.''

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