FAIRBANKS — Temperatures in Interior Alaska are forecast to drop to 40 degrees below zero starting next week.
The National Weather Service predicts a cold low-pressure air mass will move over the area in seven to 10 days. The agency’s Rick Thoman said the weather will be different from typical cold snaps, which are caused by an inversion — warm air in higher elevations that gets trapped in low-lying areas, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.
“When we have the big high pressures like we have right now, we tend to get very strong inversions. The air mass overall is not that cold,” Thoman said.
Galena and the western Interior are expected to experience extreme cold and no snow next week, while the eastern part around Tok is likely to have clouds, snow and warmer weather. Fairbanks is between these areas and could get either pattern.
“It’s not a matter of if, but where the clouds and snow will be,” Thoman said. “The farther east you go, the better chance you have of that.”
In January 1989, a cold snap brought temperatures of 54 below in Fairbanks and 63 below in North Pole.