Temperatures in the Lower 48 have been way above normal again this year, but they’ve had nothing on Alaska. Heat records there continued to pile up through October as the notoriously chilly state heads towards its hottest year on record.
Through October, the year-to-date temperature in Alaska was 36.3°F, an astounding 6.7°F above average. This exceeds the previous record for the same period — set in 1926 — by 2.5°F.
Both November and December would have to be the coldest such months in the last 40 years for 2016 not to end as the hottest year on record for Alaska, according to climate scientist Brian Brettschneider.
The core of the October warmth was focused on western and northern Alaska. The west coast town of Nome saw its warmest October day ever recorded. The temperature soared to 59°F on Oct. 12, which was more than 20°F above normal for the date. Records there go back to 1906.
The Arctic Ocean coastal community of Barrow also had its warmest October day on record, reaching 44°F on Oct. 10. The normal high for the date is 25°F, and records there go back to 1920. In fact, every single day in Barrow had a daily average temperature above normal in October, leading to an average temperature for the month that was 12.9°F above normal. A new daily record high was set or tied six times during the month.