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Alaska Baked in Winter: Earth Image of the Week February 14, 2014
Alaska January heat graphic.
The reddest areas are where temperatures were the most above normal during late January.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Or, something like that in the case of a winter out of its typical phase.

While residents of the lower 48 United States have shivered for weeks since the Arctic Vortex brought in a deep freeze, Alaska has been baking.

Springlike temperatures have melted snow from early winter, causing rivers to swell and avalanches to tumble.

And the ice roads crucial to carrying in supplies to areas isolated for months after the usual spring thaw have become impassable.

All this is due to a buckle in the jet stream that created a bulge of warmth over Alaska from the south while air from the polar region north of Canada rushed down into the heart of North America.

The image to the right represents land surface temperature anomalies for the period January 23-30, 2014.

It was created with data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite.

Areas warmer than normal appear as red, and cover almost the entire state of Alaska and neighboring Yukon. Some locations were as much as 40 degrees Fahrenheit above normal.

The all-time warmest January temperature ever observed in Alaska was tied on January 27 when the temperature peaked at 62°F at Port Alsworth, southwest of Anchorage.

The heat also unleashed a huge avalanche that crashed onto the Richardson Highway, blocking access to the port town of Valdez with snow 1,500 feet deep.

Full story and image: NASA