hard to imagine that sentiment on a sign to greet visitors at the west
end of Airport Way: Welcome to Fairbanks. Wear a jacket and keep moving.
There are colder places on the planet and colder places in Alaska. But
perhaps no other American city pulses quite like the Golden Heart City
in this weather. People still go to work and school in the city of
31,000. Cars and buses lurch through the ice fog as people keep to their
schedules. Pedestrians are fewer, but not uncommon.
Saturday, Fairbanks had reached temperatures colder than minus 30 for
nine straight days. It dipped below minus 40 at least a couple times
during that period. Chances are good that the cold of this sort will
continue through the weekend, according to National Weather Service forecasts.
Such air presents a real danger of frostbite and hypothermia. But
Fairbanksans say if you winterize your car, dress appropriately, mind
your fingers and toes and don’t let the tip of your nose change color,
you can go about your day. Many are quick to point out that temperatures
approaching 40 degrees below zero do not qualify as extreme here.
Rick Thoman, climate specialist with the Alaska Center for Climate
Assessment and Policy at UAF, said temps would need to be in the 50s or
60s below zero to approach Fairbanks records on any January day.
This past week, residents seemed undaunted.
… Still, a week in the minus 30s is not without its challenges.
Downtown Wednesday, ice fog limited visibility to a block or so. The
sunlight barely cut through a gray haze reminiscent of the wildfire
smoke that Fairbanks often deals with in summer. A temperature inversion
keeps the polluted air static and low in times like these. The Alaska
Department of Environmental Conservation’s ongoing Stage 2 alert for Fairbanks means the air is unhealthy for sensitive groups.
it’s been below zero all week in Anchorage too and I’ve been fussing about it, because that’s kind of what you do when it’s so cold your face hurts every time you go outside, but…at least I’m not further north
What are your plans for 2020? Why not include a trip to ATA Lodge! The stuff dreams are made of!
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