The following is a list of the ten coldest weather temperatures ever officially recorded in Alaska. The all-time record coldest temperature ever recorded in Alaska, and the United States, was recorded in 1971, but that record was almost challenged in 2012.
In late January of 2012, a remote thermometer at the unmanned Jim River Maintenance Camp in north-central Alaska dipped to -79 degrees, and looked like it might go even lower when the lithium battery conked out. The National Weather Service later said it would not have mattered since the battery was only good for temperature readings of -40 degrees, and anything lower than that could be a faulty reading and would not have been official.
In any event, as you will see from this list of the ten coldest weather temperatures ever officially recorded in Alaska, it can get mighty cold in the the Last Frontier State. Every temperature on this list is colder than it has ever been in any other state in the United States.
Ten Coldest Weather Temperatures Ever Recorded in Alaska
1. -80 Degrees at Prospect Creek Camp in 1971
The coldest weather temperature ever recorded in Alaska is -80 degrees, which occurred on January 23, 1971, at Prospect Creek Camp, which is located about 150 miles north of Fairbanks.
The -80 degrees temperature is the second coldest temperature reading ever recorded in North America outside of Greenland, and is the coldest temperature ever recorded in the United States.
2. -77 Degrees at Manley Hot Springs in 1997
The second coldest temperature ever recorded in Alaska is -77 degrees, which occurred at Manley Hot Springs on January 5, 1997. Manley Hot Springs is located near the Tanana River, about 60 miles west of Fairbanks.
3. -76 Degrees at Tanana in 1989
The third coldest temperature ever recorded in Alaska is -76 degrees, which occurred in Tanana on January 27, 1989. Tanana is located where the Tanana and Yukon Rivers merge, about 25 miles west of Manley Hot Springs.The Discovery Channel’s show “Yukon Men” takes place in Tanana.
T-4. -75 Degrees at Allakaket in 1971
On January 24, 1971, one day after it was -80 degrees in Prospect Creek Camp, the temperature was -75 degrees in Allakaket. Located along the Koyukuk River, Allakaket is about 190 miles northwest of Fairbanks.
T-4. -75 Degrees at McGrath in 1989
On January 27, 1989, the temperature dropped to -75 degrees in McGrath, Alaska, which is located along the Kuskokwim River about 170 miles northwest of Anchorage.
T-6. -74 Degrees at Ambler West in 1989
On January 26, 1989, it was -74 degrees in Ambler West, Alaska, which is located along the Kobuk River about 45 miles north of the Arctic Circle in northwest Alaska.
T-6. –74 Degrees at Chandalar Lake in 1999
On January 29, 1999, the temperature dropped to -74 degrees at Chandalar Lake, which is located about 180 miles north of Fairbanks.
T-6. -74 Degrees at Coldfoot Camp in 1971
On January 22, 1971, the temperature was -74 degrees at Coldfoot Camp, which is a truck stop located at mile 175 along the Dalton Highway. The Dalton Highway runs from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay.
Coldfoot Camp has been shown on the History Channel TV show “Ice Road Truckers”. I’ve driven a part of the Dalton Highway in summer and it’s a real trip.
Coldfoot Camp held the record for the coldest temperature in Alaska and the United States for exactly one day.
9. -73 Degrees at Manley Hot Springs in 1989
Manley Hot Springs makes the list twice, as it was -73 degrees on January 2, 1989.
T-10. -72 Degrees at Aniak in 1989
On January 27, 1989, the temperature was -72 degrees in Aniak, Alaska, which is located along the Kuskokwim River in southwest Alaska, about 320 miles west of Anchorage, and 90 miles northeast of Bethel.
T-10. -72 Degrees at Chicken in 1999
On December 31, 1999, the temperature dipped to -72 degrees in oddly named Chicken, Alaska. Chicken was founded as a gold mining town, and the place still has a few inhabitants today. Chicken is located in eastern Alaska near the Yukon border, about 150 miles east of Fairbanks.
The original gold miners supposedly wanted to name the town after all the ptarmigan birds in the area, but they were afraid of spelling the name wrong. So they just used the name Chicken instead.
T-10. -72 Degrees at Clearwater in 1975
On January 6, 1975, the temperature dropped to -72 degrees at the Clearwater, Alaska weather station, which is located about 100 miles south of Fairbanks at Clearwater Airport along the Denali Highway.
T-10. -72 Degrees at Northway in 1952
On January 20, 1952, the temperature was -72 degrees in Northway, Alaska, which is located along the Alaska Highway about 250 miles southeast of Fairbanks. You can also drive to Northway from Anchorage, which is a 373 mile drive each way.
The -72 degrees in Northway was the Alaska and United States record low temperature for 19 years, until the record was broken in 1971.