Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with the Axios AM and PM newsletters. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to the Axios Closer newsletter for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with the Axios Sports newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Des Moines newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Wind speed and direction at about 30,000 feet above the surface on Dec. 26 centered on Alaska. This shows the northerly bend to the jet stream, which allowed milder air to flow in from the south. (Earth.nullschool.net)

A weather station mounted on a tide gauge on the picturesque island of Kodiak, Alaska, recorded an air temperature of 67°F on Dec. 26, which if verified would become the state's record high for the month.

The big picture: Such astonishingly mild conditions in America's Arctic state come at the end of a month that largely featured extreme cold across much of the region. The warm spell, which reached inland areas, turned snow into freezing rain that made roads sheets of ice early this week.

Why it matters: This freak temperature reading in a state known for its cold, snow and winter darkness puts a capstone on a year filled with extreme weather events in the U.S. and worldwide, many of which were made worse by global warming.

The weather station at the Kodiak tide gauge reached the 60s again Monday afternoon, and up to 55°F on Tuesday morning. "In late December," tweeted Alaska climate scientist Rick Thoman, "I would not have thought such a thing possible."

  • Thoman also pointed out that the temperature at Unalaska Airport rose to 57°F at noon local time Monday, and only fell to 50°F overnight Sunday into Monday morning.
  • "That's higher than the 1991-2020 normal daily low temperature for ANY day of the year," Thoman stated.

How it works: The warmth is due to a major, albeit relatively short-lived, shift in the jet stream, which is a river of air flowing at high altitudes that helps steer weather systems.

Instead of dipping south of Alaska and carving out a frigid trough of low pressure, as was the case during parts of November and much of December, the jet stream buckled in such a way that allowed mild, maritime air to surge in from the south.

  • Other locations also saw record warmth on Dec. 26, including areas near the Bering Sea. Cold Bay, whose name does not suggest tropical weather conditions, hit 62°F, setting a new monthly record and smashing its daily record by 18°F, the National Weather Service tweeted.
  • In response t0 the building Alaskan ridge of high pressure, the downwind jet stream across western Canada and the western U.S. has buckled southward, carving a sharp dip, or trough, in this region.
  • This has caused extremely cold air to set in across British Columbia, with readings comparable to cold snaps not seen since the 1960s. The weather pattern is also repeatedly steering storms into the West Coast, with heavy snows measured in feet falling in the Sierra Nevada Mountains during the course of a week.

What's next: Computer models indicate that once the heart of the frigid air seeps into the U.S., another batch is likely to reload across Alaska and make its way southeastward as well.

Computer model projection showing the unusual cold building from Alaska to British Columbia during early January. (Weatherbell.com)
  • A large dip in the jet stream across Alaska and western Canada during the first week of January could lead to widespread unusually cold conditions across this region, based on computer model projections.
  • In other words, residents of Kodiak might not want to get too attached to temperatures in the 60s.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 15, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Earth's climate went off the rails in 2021, reports show

Temperature departures from average in degrees Celsius during 2021. (Berkeley Earth).

Global warming became local to a new and devastating extent in 2021, with the year ranking as the sixth-warmest on record, according to new, independent data from NASA, NOAA and Berkeley Earth.

Why it matters: Each year's data adds to the relentless long-term trend, which shows rapid warming due overwhelmingly to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions during the past several decades in particular.

Incoming storm could affect Buccaneers playoff game

Here's Bucs guard Alex Cappa, because offensive linemen never get their picture in the paper. Photo: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A storm is coming. That much we know. But when?

Updated 11 mins ago - Economy & Business

Tax season nightmare ahead for understaffed IRS

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The IRS will start accepting 2021 tax returns in less than a week, and the filing delays and administrative headaches to come might eclipse last year — which was “one of the worst filing seasons," according to an independent advocacy agency within the IRS.

Why it matters: For taxpayers, especially with complex or paper filings, this means headaches, delayed refunds, and mistakes.