Alaska weather is unpredictable and can change quickly. Since Alaska covers such a large area, the weather varies by season throughout its five different regions: Far North or Arctic, Interior, Southwest, Southcentral, and Southeast or Inside Passage.
In this guide, I’m sharing everything you need to know about the weather in Alaska, including the climates and average temperatures to expect each month.
- Alaska Climates By Region
- Alaska Weather In Spring
- Alaska Weather In Summer
- Alaska Weather In Fall
- Alaska Weather In Winter
Planning a trip to Alaska? Start with my Alaska Travel Guide
Alaska Climates By Region
Far North / Arctic Alaska Climate
The climate in the Far North region of Alaska is an Arctic climate and much of it is considered a desert. You can expect frigid and dry weather conditions. Winters are cold with average low temperatures around -20° F and summers are cool. This is the coldest region in Alaska and it gets hit with frequent storms bringing high winds and blowing snow. Utgiaqvik, the northernmost city in Alaska, receives about 5 inches of rain a year, whereas Nome receives about 17 inches. Most of the year, the northern coast of Alaska is covered in ice. During the summer, the Arctic receives 24 hours of daylight but during the winter the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon for nearly two months!
Interior Alaska Climate
Interior Alaska has a subarctic climate with bitterly cold winters and short, cool summers. The Interior region has some of the highest mountains in the US, which help protect the area from storms and rain. Fairbanks, the largest city in the interior, has some of the largest temperature fluctuations in Alaska. Summer temperatures can reach nearly 100° F and winter temperatures can fall below −60° F. Most precipitation falls as snow between October and April, but you can expect snow on the ground as early as September. Don’t expect much rain during the summer. Fairbanks gets nearly 22 hours of daylight on the longest day of the year and only 3.5 hours on the shortest day of the year.
Southcentral Alaska Climate
Southcentral Alaska has a subarctic climate due to its short, cool summers. The climate is considered mild as much of the region is near the coast. Southcentral Alaska gets a lot of snow and strong winds, especially during winter. Summer temperatures can reach 80° F and winter temperatures can drop below 0° F. Anchorage, the most populous city in Alaska, gets nearly 22 hours of daylight at the peak of summer and only 5.5 hours during winter solstice.
Southwest Alaska Climate
Southwest Alaska has two climates, a subarctic oceanic climate and a continental subarctic climate. As much of this region is coastal, its landscapes are battered by wind and waves. Southwest Alaska receives a ton of precipitation and some locations, such as Dillingham and Bethel, get around 100 inches of precipitation a year. Temperatures in this region are moderate as average summer temperatures hover around 60° F and winter temperatures stay well above 0° F. Expect 18 hours of daylight during the summer solstice and 6.5 hours during the winter solstice.
Southeast Alaska Climate
Southeast Alaska also has two main climates, a mid-latitude oceanic climate, and a marine subpolar climate. Most of the area is covered by the Tongass National Forest, a temperate rainforest. Southeast Alaska experiences some of the wettest and warmest weather in Alaska. Temperatures in this region are mild as average summer temperatures stay around 60° F and average daytime temperatures stay above freezing during winter. If it snows in the Southeast, it doesn’t stay long before melting away. In Ketchikan, you can expect 17.5 hours of daylight in the summer and 7 hours of daylight during the winter.
Alaska Weather In Spring
Weather in March
As winter comes to an end, March 20 marks the official first day of spring. The days are getting longer and you can expect nearly 15 hours of daylight. There is plenty of snow on the ground and the average daytime temperatures range from 16° F in the Arctic and 40° F in the Southeast. It feels warm to be outside as the sun reflects off of the snow.
Weather in April
April is actually one of my favorite months in Alaska. I always feel like there are many bluebird days in Southcentral Alaska. The snow is melting and lots of areas become slushy and muddy. It’s not the best time to hike in the mountains but there are still plenty of other activities to enjoy like spring skiing or whale watching. Average daytime temperatures in the Arctic is 29° F and 47° F in the Interior.
Weather in May
In May, there is still plenty of snow in the mountains. As the temperatures rise, the trails become muddy and flooded with snowmelt. The average daytime temperatures in the Southwest is 50° F and 53° F in Southcentral. The leaves are starting to turn green and you can expect nearly 18 hours of daylight. May is usually the driest month across the state and Southeast Alaska experiences its lowest average monthly precipitation.
Alaska Weather In Summer
Weather in June
By June, it feels like summer in Alaska. June 21 is the longest day of the year with 19 hours of daylight in Anchorage and 24 hours of daylight in Utgiaqvik. It also marks the first official day of summer. Average daytime temperatures in Alaska in June range from 50° F to around 70° F. Low average temperatures range from 30° F in the Arctic and 49° F in the Interior. It doesn’t rain much in June and most trails are dried out by now!
Alaska Weather in July
July is usually the warmest month in Alaska with temperatures averaging in the high 60s F. It’s possible to experience even warmer temps around 90° F in the Interior. The nighttime lows are usually comfortable enough to wear a light sweater. Precipitation continues to increase as summer goes on, which keeps everything lush and green. Don’t be fooled, it can still snow in various parts of Alaska in the middle of summer.
Alaska Weather in August
By August, the summer temperatures across Alaska start to cool down. Average daytime highs range from the high 50s F in the Arctic to high 60°F in the Interior. Nighttime lows stay above mid 90°F across most of the state. Daylight hours are decreasing with about 18 hours of daylight in Fairbanks in August.
Alaska Weather In Fall
Alaska Weather in September
September 21 marks the first official day of fall. The days are short and the temperatures are cooler, especially at night. Expect average daytime temperatures around 50° F and lows around mid-40s F or hovering above freezing in some regions. September has a 50% more chance of rain than May, but every year is different. The leaves are changing colors and the bugs are gone.
Alaska Weather in October
October is a great time for chasing the fall colors around Alaska. It’s possible to experience some warmer days but most likely it’ll feel cold. The average daytime temperatures drop below 50° F and the nighttime temperatures drop to below freezing or barely hovering above it. Average monthly precipitation in Southeast Alaska is generally highest in October and snow in the mountains and in the Interior region is likely.
Alaska Weather in November
Snow is starting to accumulate in November with the occasional snowstorms. The days are getting shorter with about 8.5 hours of daylight in Anchorage. Most of the state is cold as average daytime temperatures are below freezing and some regions, like the Arctic or Interior, drop below 0° F during the nighttime.
Alaska Weather In Winter
Alaska Weather in December
December 21 is the shortest day of the year, with about 5 and a half hours of daylight in Anchorage. This also marks the first official day of winter. During the coldest winter days, temperatures reach below 0º F and some places in Alaska can even reach -60º F. Snow blankets most of the state, which makes it a great time for winter activities.
Alaska Weather in January
January is full-on winter in Alaska as many regions are covered deep in powder. It’s actually the coldest month of the year. You can expect temperatures in January to be below freezing during the day and average lows ranging from -18º F in the Arctic to 26º F in the Southeast. The days start to get longer, with around 8 hours of daylight.
Alaska Weather in February
February is another cold month across Alaska. It’s actually one of my least favorite months of the year! Average daytime temperatures range from 13º F to 37º F and average nighttime temperatures range from -20ºF to 27ºF. You can expect around 12 hours of daylight in February.
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Do you have any questions about Alaska weather? Let me know in the comments.