Then the battery died -- apparently unable to hold a charge at such unspeakably frigid temperatures. The monitoring station stopped measuring the temperature, just as it looked like the cold might drip below the minus-80-degree mark.
But it was all wrong, the National Weather Service says. The dying lithium battery is only rated to work properly at temperatures warmer than 40 degrees below zero. Meteorologists believe the monitoring station, which was a private device and not up to Weather Service standards, spit out false readings as it flickered and died.
What's not in dispute, is that much of Alaska has faced an extraordinarily cold January -- even by the standards of the frozen Last Frontier state.
On Sunday, the high in Circle Hot Springs, Alaska, was 49 degrees below zero. The low that day was minus 58 degrees -- breaking a record set in 1914 of minus 52 degrees. Read More