Warmer in Alaska, and on Mars

While much of the lower 48 of the United States is in a deep freeze, the northern-most and coldest state is experiencing a rare warm start to the winter, reports Westwood One. In fact, several locations in northern and central Alaska — such as Utqiagvik (Barrow), Bettles, Kotzebue and McGrath — all had their warmest December on record, according to climatologist Brian Brettschneider. Fairbanks had its 2nd-warmest December. Over the first three weeks of the month, the city was 20 degrees above average. Midday Tuesday, at 48 degrees, Anchorage’s Merrill Field Airport was warmer than almost the entire Lower 48 states, including cities such as Jacksonville, Houston, Atlanta and New Orleans. “It’s colder in Chicago than on the surface of Mars at -15 as well as Detroit,” said meteorologist Tom Sater Tuesday. Anchorage had its fifth-warmest December: an average temperature more than 7 degrees above average. Boston, meanwhile, hasn’t had a high above 20 degrees in seven straight days – the first time that’s happened in a century. Residents of the southern United States aren’t being spared from winter weather, as hard freeze warnings are in effect for much of southern Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, and winter storm warnings extended from North Carolina to northern Florida.