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We found winter! And a look at the week ahead...

While our "no show" winter continues (yes, there are more 70's in the forecast) some parts of the US are recording readings that may make you do a few double takes. You have to head north of the border, and near the Arctic Circle, to find it - but winter is unleashing it's wrath on Alaska in impressive fashion. 

Check out some of the actual temperatures from this morning. Widespread -40's and -50's in interior Alaska, while Anchorage is a relatively balmy -2. This is bitter cold that you just don't find in the lower 48. While one morning of temperatures this low is bad enough, the real problem is that it's been this cold for so long. 

Here's a look at the last 7 days in the tiny settlement of Galena, Alaska (population 470). If you look closely, you notice that the scale on the left tops out at 0 degrees. What we find is that the temperature has been below zero the entire week, and has even been below -30 since Thursday morning! In this part of the world at this time of year, there are few precious hours of daylight, and any warmth that might be found comes as a result of a new airmass rather than the sun warming things up. 

In Fairbanks, Alaska's second biggest city, the temperatures have been nearly as brutal. Here are some impressive stats from this winter so far:

  • January average temperature: -25.8, 17.7 degrees below average. 
  • 15 mornings with low temperatures of at least -40 degrees
  • Temperature above zero for only 34 hours this month so far. A percentage of 4.9%!!
  • The morning low of -46 today was 77 degrees colder than Wilmington's low of 31. 

So winter does exist this year, you just have to look hard to find it. Here in Wilmington, we've been working on an impressive stretch of warmth that's a bit short of historic. Even so, here are a couple numbers that make this season stand out from recent years. 

Each month, December and January, have been about 4 degrees above normal overall, but there are a lot of impressive things just looking at the breakdown of high temperatures each day. Take for instance 70 degree days. This year we've had 15 in Dec/Jan, last year we had only 2. This year 2 out of 3 days have been at least 60 or higher. A stat that could be nearly reversed this time last year. 

Even though it's been very warm, one strange stat is that there have been been any record highs - or record lows - set during the winter at all! (At least not yet)

As far as our current weather pattern, expect the ups and downs to continue. Another warm-up lies ahead through this week, but things get a little interesting heading out toward the weekend. New injections of cold air from Canada will really get more active in the northern states over the next few weeks which could mean a couple more typical cold spells for February. We'll see if that pans out. 

I've been getting a lot of complaints from viewers saying how they wish Mother Nature would just make up her mind whether she wanted it warm or cold! While it would make for an easier forecast, I'm ok with it -- it's better than no warm-ups at all!

Thanks for reading. 

- TB

By: Tim Buckley

ocean water temperature???

Tim......could you tell me where I can find the OCEAN WATER TEMPERATURE???
It used to be daily in the Wilmington. Star/news , but no more....also, where can I find tide times on Topsail Beach?? Thanks!

Here ya go!

You can find the ocean temperature on our beach & boating forecast which is updated twice daily:

For Topsail tides, go to this site -- select "New Topsail Beach" and then pick the date(s) you want!

- Tim