Juneau experiences an oceanic climate, while areas in the north of the panhandle, where the state capital is situated, experience subarctic oceanic weather. This is one of the mildest parts of Alaska in the winter months, when temperatures hover above freezing and one of the wettest parts at all other times of the year.
Anchorage also experiences a relatively mild climate by Alaskan standards, partly due to its closeness to the coast. Cool, brief summers and snowy winters are the norm here. In contrast, Western Alaskan weather varies enormously, but on the whole is less cold than one might expect with this region being so far north.
The subarctic Interior sees some of the state’s lowest and highest mercury readings, with temperatures typically ranging from the mid-30’s (°C) to -50°C and little rain. The Arctic climate of the far north means this frigid region experiences lengthy, bitterly cold winters and cool, brief summers with temperatures which are often just a few degrees above freezing and little precipitation.
Best time to visit Alaska
With weather in Alaska being unpredictable, it is best for visitors to come prepared for whatever the climate may throw at them. Many visitors like to come in summer (June through August), when long daylight hours and sunny temperatures prevail in places like Anchorage. However, this is also when hotel prices are at a premium. Lower prices can be enjoyed during the shoulder months of May and September, but the latter month is when rainstorms move in to many areas and tourist services begin to close up.
October and November see the transition from warm (or cool) to cold weather and short daylight hours. If you can brave it, the winter season, December to March, offers magnificent scenery and the Northern Lights, but less in the way of wildlife spotting opportunities than summer. This is also when winter sports such as snowmobiling and ice skating come in full swing, and hotel prices are at their lowest.