Skip to content
CityLab
Culture

Alaska Just Suffered a Major, Avalanche-Filled Heat Wave

This new NASA visualization shows just how unusually warm Alaska was in January.
relates to Alaska Just Suffered a Major, Avalanche-Filled Heat Wave

The miserable polar weather that blasted the lower U.S. this January no doubt had many folks dreaming of Hawaii. But maybe they should've been considering Alaska, instead, where an unusual and potent heat wave raised temperatures to 40 degrees above average.

The abnormal spate of warmness – which far as I can tell has not been addressed by weatherperson Sarah Palin – forced the cancellation of skiing events, with one organizer saying, "We just don't have the snow and way too much water in the hills to put together a quality race." It also led to the 2014 Yukon Quest Sled Dog Race being launched in downtown Fairbanks, rather than its historical starting line on a frozen river, because the river ice was so thin spectators would've fallen through it. Then there were the large avalanches that swamped roadways, such as the one hiding under a snowy Slurpee in the above photo. But more on that in a minute.