In Ketchikan, December 2021 was especially cold — a full 10.5 degrees colder than normal. The First City had an average temperature of 25.7F, the coldest month in the calendar year since January of 1972, which averaged 25F.
On Christmas, Ketchikan set a record low temperature of zero. The old record was 6 degrees in 1964 on Christmas Day. Ketchikan is the largest city in southern Southeast Alaska, at about the same latitude as Copenhagen, Denmark.
Juneau also had a bitter cold December, and is starting 2022 with a blizzard, with snow and a high wind warning for Downtown Juneau, Douglas, Thane, Skagway, and the Klondike Highway beginning midnight Saturday and going through 6 am Monday, the National Weather Service said.
Other parts of the state had weather events in December. Fairbanks had the fourth snowiest month in a century, with nearly 50 inches of snow, as measured by the National Weather Service Fairbanks.
In Cordova, snow was scarce in December, tying a record with 1965 for having the lowest amount of snow — 1.87 inches, which is about 24 percent of of the normal snowfall for the month in the past two decades.
In Bethel, December was markedly warmer, with temperatures nearly 18 degrees higher than they were in November. Aniak was nearly 20 degrees higher in December than November. Rain and ice made conditions difficult for Western Alaska all month.
Unalaska’s average December temperature was 41.5F, about 6.5 degrees above normal and setting a high for the month. The Aleutian Chain city had 11 days in December when temperatures reached at least 50 degrees.
December in Nome set records for the greatest amount of precipitation. The Norton Sound city ended December with gale force winds on Dec. 28, which took out the power for most of the city overnight. Earlier rain had caused icing on the power lines, and the wind actually broke some of the crossbars on the poles. Crews worked throughout the night to restore power.
Fairbanks is starting the New Year with snow and wind, with wind chill temperatures as low as -45.
In Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, it was the snowiest December since 1980, according to Environment Canada.