December warmest on record in Alaska

    Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) Higher than normal temperatures are affecting rural Alaska as it makes crossing rivers dangers, takes away roads, and limits access to hunting grounds.

    One example was the Kuskokwim River, where a man died New Year's Eve when he fell through the ice while on a snowmobile.

    While the winter has been mild so far, other parts of the lower 48 have seen brutal conditions and the loss of life due to cold and snow.

    The average temperature in December in Alaska was 19.4 degrees, 3.7 degrees higher than average.  The higher temperatures also have Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race officials anxious about maybe having the change the route.

    Subsistence hunters normally out looking for caribou, beaver and otter this time of year have decided to wait for better conditions.

    Bethel has been one of the locations where temperatures have soared.  They average a temperature of 18.3 degrees between October 1 and the first week in January.  This past year the average temperature was 28.6 degrees.

    Rick Thoman with the National Weather Service said predictions are for better than average chances for colder weather in southeast Alaska in February.




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