An unusual winter warm spell in Alaska has brought daytime temperatures soaring past 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5°C) and torrents of rain at a time of year normally associated with bitter cold and fluffy snow.
At the island community of Kodiak, the air temperature at a tidal gauge hit 67 F (19.4°C) degrees on Sunday, the highest December reading ever recorded in Alaska, said scientist Rick Thoman of the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy.
He called it "absurd."
The new benchmark high came amid a spate of balmy December extremes, Thoman said, including 65 degrees at the Kodiak airport, a record 62 degrees at the Alaska Peninsula community of Cold Bay and at least eight December days of temperatures above 50 at the Aleutian town of Unalaska, including a 56-degree reading that was Alaska's warmest Christmas Day on record.
The most serious immediate implication for humans is likely from the massive amounts of precipitation dumped on interior Alaska, where the Fairbanks area was hit by its fiercest mid-winter storm since 1937, Thoman said.