Climate and monthly weather forecast
Alaska, USA

Flag of Alaska, USA
Flag of Alaska, USA

The climate of Alaska

Alaska has multiple climate zones that include an arctic type (Köppen ET) in the extreme north, oceanic (Köppen climate classification Cfb) to subpolar oceanic (Köppen Cfc) in the southeast and southwest, subarctic continental (Köppen Dfb, Dfc) in the interior and southcentral regions. Patches of cold semi-arid type (Köppen BSk) regions lie in the extreme north-central and east. Alaska lies in the extreme northwest of the United States, with the Pacific Ocean to its south. A maritime border with Russia lies in the west. The Arctic Ocean is to the north, while the Yukon territory of Canada and the province of British Columbia border the east and southeast of Alaska. The proximity to the Arctic Circle and the vast ocean waters mainly impact the climate.

Alaska, the Last Frontier, is the largest state in America and has an average elevation of 590 meters above sea level. Denali is the highest peak in North America at 6191 meters, while several other peaks extend above 5000 meters. Marshlands, flatlands, high mountains, glaciers, millions of lakes, and numerous rivers constitute the diverse topography of the state. Permafrost is dominant in the northern third of the state's geography. The Brooks Range protects the interior from glacial arctic winds, while the Alaska-Aleutian Range extends to the east. The Northern Slopes region is mainly tundra with a small population. The interior is the largest region with a mostly uninhabited wilderness. The panhandle in the southeast is the closest region to the United States.

The best time to visit Alaska

The best time to visit Alaska is from June to August during the moderate summer season. The interior areas are warm to occasionally hot during the summer but cold during the night. The north and northwest have cold nights and mild days at the best. The sunshine is highest during June with moderate precipitation and snowfall. The temperatures are mild in the south, but people who embark on boating trips face a cold environment. The summer usually brings more sunshine in Alaska, but the roads are slippery in many parts with the thawing of snow.

The worst time to visit Alaska

The worst time to visit Alaska is from December to February in the severely cold season. Winters have freezing nights in the state, and even the days remain below freezing in the extreme north and northwest. The skies are gray with the sunshine at its weakest of the year. Snowfall is massive and along with the piercing wind, is a detriment to outdoor activities. Severe cold is a real danger, and brief exposure to ice-cold water can prove deadly. February and March receive plenty of snow but receive adequate sunshine in the central and southern regions of the state.

Spring weather in Alaska

Spring in Alaska remains chilly, especially as remnants of winter weather persist. As the state transitions from the intense cold of winter, snow begins to melt in many areas, leading to wet conditions in many regions. The sun begins to make more frequent appearances, but temperatures remain relatively low, especially in the northern parts. This season also marks the beginning of longer daylight hours, particularly in northern regions, hinting at the midnight sun phenomenon that Alaska is renowned for.

Summer weather in Alaska

Summertime in Alaska is a contrast of regions. The extreme north experiences short and cool summers. In the interior and southeastern panhandle, temperatures can range from 65°F (18.3°C) to 70°F (21.1°C) on average. On rare occasions, temperatures might even soar past 90°F (32.2°C) in central and eastern pockets. Snowfall ceases, except in the highest altitudes. Rainfall peaks in the early fall, but the overall summer climate is relatively dry, making it ideal for outdoor activities and exploration.

Autumn weather in Alaska

Autumn in Alaska is characterized by a transition from the milder temperatures of summer to the intense cold of winter. While the early parts of the season can still be pleasant, temperatures begin to drop significantly as winter approaches. Precipitation levels are heightened, especially in the southeastern regions. The landscape starts to change as leaves turn golden and then brown, providing picturesque views. Days become shorter, and by the end of the season, snow begins to make its appearance, especially in the northern regions.

Winter weather in Alaska

Winters in Alaska are harsh and cold. The extreme north and northwest remain frozen, with temperatures often below freezing even during the day. The state receives an average snowfall of 270" (6858mm) annually. In areas like the North Slope, up to 30" (762mm) of snow can fall and remain on the ground throughout the season. Sunshine is at its lowest, especially from November to February, making days gloomy. The cold is intensified by strong winds, making outdoor activities challenging and, in some cases, hazardous.

Weather in January

January stands as one of the coldest months in Alaska. The extreme north, in proximity to the Arctic Circle, experiences particularly harsh conditions, with temperatures frequently remaining below freezing even during daytime. It's during this month that the state sees average low temperatures dropping to -3°F (-19.4°C). Weather in January »

Weather in February

February in Alaska continues to bear the grip of winter, though subtle signs of change become apparent as the month progresses. The extreme north, while still enduring formidable cold, sees temperatures that are occasionally milder than the lows of January. Weather in February »

Weather in March

As March arrives in Alaska, the state begins to experience a palpable shift towards spring. While winter's hold is still strong, especially in the northern and interior regions, the promise of warmer months ahead becomes evident. Weather in March »

Weather in April

April signifies a marked transition in Alaska's weather patterns. The throes of winter start to wane considerably, and the onset of spring becomes more apparent across the state. In cities like Sitka, situated in the southeastern panhandle, temperatures begin to climb, offering a stark contrast to the deep freezes experienced in the previous months. Compared to March, April showcases a more consistent warming trend. Weather in April »

Weather in May

May emerges as a beacon of the Alaskan spring, a month where the vibrancy of the season is on full display. The state sees significant increases in temperatures, even in traditionally colder areas like the North Slope. Cities such as Valdez, nestled in the southcentral region, experience mild days, making outdoor activities more feasible and enjoyable. When juxtaposed with April, May offers higher temperatures, with many regions experiencing a consistent departure from freezing conditions. Weather in May »

Weather in June

June ushers in the summer season for Alaska, with its long days and warmer temperatures setting it apart as one of the most favorable months in the state's weather calendar. Anchorage, situated in the southcentral region, often experiences some of its best weather during June, with temperatures often venturing into the comfortable range of 65°F (18.3°C) to 70°F (21.1°C). When assessed alongside May, June typically showcases even longer daylight durations, with areas above the Arctic Circle experiencing the famed midnight sun. Weather in June »

Weather in July

July stands as the pinnacle of Alaskan summer, presenting residents and travelers with the warmest and most amicable conditions of the year. Fairbanks, located in the state's interior, often witnesses the height of this warmth, occasionally recording temperatures that surpass the 90°F (32.2°C) threshold. Compared to June, July tends to maintain similar long daylight hours, although they start to very gradually diminish as the month progresses. Weather in July »

Weather in August

As the calendar flips to August, Alaska gradually begins its transition from the heart of summer to the whispers of autumn. Cities such as Sitka, positioned in the southeastern panhandle, can witness a mix of summer warmth and the initial hints of cooler autumn breezes. When placed in context with July, August sees a noticeable reduction in daylight hours. Weather in August »

Weather in September

September marks the formal arrival of autumn in Alaska, and with it comes a noticeable shift in the state's climate and environment. Cities like Anchorage, nestled between mountain ranges and the sea, start to exhibit the classic fall colors and cooler temperatures associated with this season. In comparison to August, September sees a more rapid decrease in daylight hours. Weather in September »

Weather in October

By the time October dawns in Alaska, autumn's embrace is unmistakable, and the signs of impending winter become more evident. Towns like Juneau in the southeastern region might find themselves oscillating between the remnants of fall and the early touch of winter's chill. In a stark contrast to the prolonged daylight of summer months, October witnesses significantly reduced sunlight. Weather in October »

Weather in November

November in Alaska is a herald of the deep winter, ushering in cold, snowy conditions, and showcasing the stark beauty of the Alaskan wilderness. Places like Fairbanks, situated in the interior, brace themselves for the profound cold and snow characteristic of the coming months. Contrasted with October, November sees a further reduction in daylight. Weather in November »

Weather in December

December, the final chapter of the year, sees Alaska in the throes of its profound winter. Anchorage, the state's most populous city, along with other regions, is often blanketed in a thick layer of snow, with the world around echoing the silence and serenity that only winter can bring. Daylight becomes a treasured commodity as December progresses. Weather in December »

Alaska, USA

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