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Rapid heat wave as Fairbanks temperatures soar 55 degrees

Alaska Dispatch

Where but in Alaska?

Residents of Fairbanks, Alaska's second largest city, started the day Thursday by shivering off to work in morning temperatures of 24 degrees below zero, a temperature 29 degrees below the seasonal norm and close to the record low for the date, minus 31.

Then spring came barrelling north.

By late afternoon, the National Weather Service reported, the temperature had swung 55 degrees in Fairbanks. The thermometer crept to within a degree of freezing. The 55-degree shift from minus 24 to plus 31 represented the second biggest temperature swing in the modern era for the so-called Golden Heart City.

The all-time record, a 56-degree shift, has stood since April 3, 1944.

By Friday, the Fairbanks temperature was up to 39 degrees, thanks to an atmospheric inversion that trapped a layer of warm air near ground level, say meteorologists. The weather service was predicting weekend highs would continue in the low- to mid-30s with nighttime temps dropping to 5 to 15.

Spring is still a way off in Interior Alaska, but most people there are starting to hope they've seen the end of subzero days.