Snow Fairbanks
© University of Alaska/TwitterThe first measurable snow of the season blanketed the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus on Sep. 25, 2015.
Fall's arrival may have been greeted with a collective warm shrug of the shoulders in the Lower 48 states, but Alaskans have already broken out winter coats.

Officially, 6.7 inches of snow blanketed the city of Fairbanks Friday, turning the city into a winter wonderland just days into fall. Not only was this the city's first measurable snow of the season, but this was the city's third heaviest calendar-day September snow on record, topped only by Sep. 13, 1992 (7.8 inches) and Sep. 29, 1972 (7 inches). This was the city's heaviest September snow event since a four-day, 17.3-inch snow blitz from Sep. 11-14, 1992.

Fairbanks only averages 1.9 inches of snow during the month of September. Two observers in College Hills north of downtown Fairbanks measured 9 inches of snow as of Friday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

The Alaska DOT reported about 10 inches of snow in the hills near Nenana west-southwest of Fairbanks along the Parks Highway, the primary link between Fairbanks, Denali National Park and Anchorage.

Earlier in the week, just hours after the autumnal equinox, the University of Alaska's Toolik Field Station in the foothills of the Brooks Range about 350 miles south of the Arctic coast tumbled to 0 degrees (Fahrenheit, that is), the first such reading of the season anywhere in the state, much less the U.S.

© Via twitter@breakingweather.comFairbanks, Alaska
If hearing "zero degrees" and "10 inches of snow" leaves you thinking, "It's way too early for this," that's not the case in Alaska. The average date of the season's first measurable snow in Fairbanks is September 30, according to Alaska-based meteorologist Brian Brettschneider. Brettschneider added the average first one-inch-plus snow date in the city is October 6. So, a tad early, but not unusual.

Also, 24.4 inches of snow fell in Fairbanks in September 1992, their snowiest September on record. September monthly snow totals in excess of a foot have happened in numerous Alaska locations in the past, according to Brettschneider.
Snow falling in Alaska's mountains in late summer is known locally as "termination dust," marking the eventual end of summer's warmth. Dipping to zero degrees isn't even considered record early in the Last Frontier.

"It's the fourth earliest (zero-degree or colder temperature) at this station (Toolik Field Station) since 1988," said Brettschneider. Nonetheless, Alaska has been quite chilly the past couple of weeks, even relative to mid-late September averages.

Recent Pattern Keeping Alaska Chilly (Mid-Late Sep. 2015)
The polar jet stream has taken a sharp southward plunge over Alaska, the northeast Pacific Ocean and western Canada, locking in a chilly, wet pattern over our 49th state. This is quite a sharp temperature turnaround. The first eight months of 2015 were the second warmest such period in Alaska on record, topped only by 1981. Incidentally, the season's last measurable snow in Fairbanks typically occurs around mid-April (April 17).

© Via twitter@deephil11