by Dave Hennen
CNN Senior Meteorologist
You expect to see bone chilling temperatures in Alaska, but this January has been brutal even by Alaska standards. Many locations in the state are expected to end up this January as the coldest on record. According to the National Weather Service in Fairbanks the city of Nome had an average temperature of -15.4 degrees, which is the coldest since records have been kept dating back to 1907.
Galena, Bettles, and many others cities in the western part of the state will also see all time January cold records.
In contrast the lower forty eight, particularly the Midwest continues to bake in abnormally warm conditions. St. Louis had a record high on Monday of 67 degrees, some 26 degrees above the normal. According to the National Climatic Data Center there have been nearly 3,000 record highs set during the month of January over the United States, while in contrast only 151 low temperature records have been set.
Don’t throw the sled and shovel back in the attic yet. Long range forecasts show a dramatic change in the weather pattern that will allow the cold air that has been trapped in Alaska to spill south in the eastern half of the U.S, bringing a return to normal or below normal temperature in the East, while much of the West averages above normal and Alaska finally gets a break from the winter chill.