Northwest Arctic Borough, Alaska Weather

The Northwest Arctic Borough is located in the U.S. state of Alaska, situated on the western side of the Seward Peninsula and bordered by the Chukchi Sea to the north and Norton Sound to the south. With an area of 24,764 square miles, this borough is larger than nine U.S. states combined and is home to a population of just over 7,000 people as of 2020.

According to, the history of this region dates back centuries, when indigenous tribes such as the Inupiat and Yup’ik relied on hunting and fishing for survival in a harsh environment characterized by long winters and short summers. The area was first explored by Russian fur traders in the late 1700s, and was later claimed as part of Alaska in 1867 following its purchase from Russia by the United States.

Today, Northwest Arctic Borough offers visitors a unique experience with its stunning natural beauty, including glaciers, mountains, tundra, rivers, lakes and ocean coastline. The region is also known for its abundant wildlife including caribou herds migrating across vast expanses of tundra each year; polar bears prowling along coastal shores; whales feeding off shore; wolves roaming through forests; and sea otters playing in kelp beds near shorelines.

The towns within Northwest Arctic Borough are small but offer plenty to do for visitors looking for adventure or relaxation. Kotzebue is the borough’s largest town with a population around 3100 people; it serves as a transportation hub with commercial flights arriving daily from Anchorage as well as regular ferry service from Nome along Alaska’s Inside Passage route. Other towns include Deering (population: 600), Noatak (population: 500), Kivalina (population: 400) and Selawik (population: 300).

Famous people originating from Northwest Arctic Borough include Olympic speed skater John Kookesh who competed in both 2002 and 2006 Winter Olympics; athlete Sharon Bushell who won gold medals at both 2000 Summer Paralympics held in Sydney Australia; singer-songwriter Roberta Joseph who has performed extensively throughout Alaska; actor/writer/producer Billy Luther whose film “Miss Navajo” won numerous awards at international film festivals; author/poet Joan Kane who has written several books about life in rural Alaska villages; artist Marvin Oliver whose works have been exhibited nationally and internationally; politician Willie Hensley who served three terms representing Alaska’s 1st Congressional District from 1975-1981; former governor Sarah Palin who served two terms from 2006-2009 before resigning to pursue other opportunities outside politics; musician Emmonak Pete Williams Jr., whose band “Arctic Rain” has released several albums since 2005 featuring traditional music styles from Northwest Arctic Borough villages like Kotzebue and Deering among others.

Climate and weather in Northwest Arctic Borough, Alaska

According to, the climate of Northwest Arctic Borough, Alaska is characterized by long, cold winters and short, cool summers. Average winter temperatures range from 0 to -25 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 to -32 Celsius) while average summer temperatures range from 40 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 16 Celsius). The region experiences an average of 19 inches (48 cm) of precipitation per year with snowfall occurring throughout the winter months and rain during the summer months.

The region is known for its strong winds which can reach speeds up to 50 miles per hour (80 km/h). These winds often carry snow and ice particles which can create blizzards and whiteouts in areas with low visibility. In addition, the area is prone to extreme temperature fluctuations due to its proximity to the Arctic Ocean; these sudden changes can cause severe weather conditions such as thunderstorms and flash floods.

Despite its cold climate, Northwest Arctic Borough receives more than 23 hours of daylight during the summer months with twilight lasting until midnight or later. During this time, wildlife such as caribou herds are frequently seen migrating across vast expanses of tundra while polar bears prowl along coastal shores. In contrast, winter brings only around 4 hours of daylight per day with twilight lasting until around 10 am or 11 am. During this time, many animals hibernate or migrate south in search of food while others remain active but stay closer to their dens for warmth.

Northwest Arctic Borough has a climate characterized by long cold winters and short cool summers with extreme temperature fluctuations due to its proximity to the Arctic Ocean. Despite this harsh environment, the region offers a unique opportunity for visitors looking for adventure or relaxation amidst abundant wildlife and spectacular landscapes.

Transportation in Northwest Arctic Borough, Alaska

Transportation in Northwest Arctic Borough, Alaska is limited due to its remote location and harsh climate. The main form of transportation within the region is by air, with flights available from Anchorage or Fairbanks to regional airports such as Kotzebue and Nome. These airports offer commercial services as well as charter flights for those wishing to explore more remote areas.

Road networks are limited throughout the region due to the difficult terrain and extreme weather conditions. While there are some maintained roads in the region, these are mainly used by locals for access to their homes or businesses rather than for longer journeys. In addition, some roads may be closed during winter months due to snowfall or icy conditions.

The area is also served by a number of local ferry services which can be used for transportation between coastal settlements and villages. These ferries typically operate on a seasonal basis with routes running between May and September when weather conditions are more favourable.

For visitors looking to explore more remote areas of Northwest Arctic Borough, Alaska, a range of adventure tour operators offer guided trips across the tundra or along rivers and lakes. These trips typically involve travelling by snowmobile or ATV, depending on the season, and provide an excellent way to experience the area’s unique landscape and wildlife up close.

Transportation in Northwest Arctic Borough is limited but there are still ways for visitors to explore this remote region of Alaska if they’re willing to venture off the beaten path. Whether it’s traveling by air or embarking on an adventure tour through the tundra, this unique destination offers plenty of opportunities for exploration and discovery.

Cities and towns in Northwest Arctic Borough, Alaska

The Northwest Arctic Borough, Alaska is a sparsely populated area located in the northernmost part of the state. The region is made up of numerous small towns, villages, and hamlets scattered across its vast expanse. Despite its remote location, the region is home to a diverse range of cultures and communities with local residents having strong ties to their Indigenous heritage.

According to COUNTRYAAH, the largest city in Northwest Arctic Borough is Kotzebue which serves as the regional hub for commerce and services. This picturesque town overlooks Kotzebue Sound and provides access to some of the region’s most spectacular landscapes. The town has a population of approximately 3,200 people with most residents belonging to either Inupiaq or Yupik descent.

Kivalina is another small community located on the coast of Chukchi Sea about 80 miles from Kotzebue. This traditional fishing village has a population of around 400 people and serves as an important hub for subsistence activities such as hunting, fishing, and berry picking.

Other notable towns in Northwest Arctic Borough include Noatak, Selawik, Shungnak, Kiana, Deering and Ambler. These smaller settlements are generally more remote than Kotzebue but still offer essential services such as medical clinics, post offices, schools and grocery stores for local residents.

In addition to these larger settlements there are numerous villages scattered throughout Northwest Arctic Borough each with their own unique culture and history that can be explored by visitors wishing to experience life in rural Alaska first-hand. These villages range from the traditional Inupiaq village of Noorvik on the Kobuk River to more modern settlements such as Kivalina which offers basic amenities such as running water and electricity.

Northwest Arctic Borough contains many interesting cities and towns which provide insight into the region’s rich culture and history while also offering modern conveniences for those looking for a more comfortable stay during their visit to this remote corner of Alaska.

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