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Weather forecasting and analysis, space and historic events, climate information

2:30 PM | Impressive mild stretch across lower 48 and cold spell in Alaska; our luck is about to run out

Paul Dorian


The mild weather pattern over much of the US in recent weeks has been quite impressive indeed. Just yesterday, for example, Philip, South Dakota reached a record-breaking high temperature of 74 degrees which shattered the old record by an incredible 28 degrees. There were 300 record highs set yesterday across 21 states from California to the Plains. Since the beginning of the month, there have been 971 record highs set across the country with only 53 record lows. And in the last 30 days, the nation has seen 1867 record highs with only 306 record lows. The lack of snow in much of the country in recent weeks has been just as impressive as the lack of cold. In fact, only 21.7% of the nation currently has any snow cover and this compares to 47.8% at this time last year and 58.1% two years ago.

On the other side of the coin, however, and perhaps a harbinger of things to come in much of the US, the state of Alaska has suffered some serious cold in recent weeks with, for example, Nome setting a record low just this morning with a temperature of -36.3 degrees. Additionally, since the beginning of January, Bethel, Alaska is running 34.1 degrees below normal and King Salmon, Alaska is running 23.7 degrees below normal.

It seems that our luck is about to run out in much of the contiguous US as a major temperature pattern flip appears to be coming beginning in about a week or so. In recent history, some of these types of turnarounds have been quite dramatic with amazing results. Stay tuned.