People are exchanging their flip-flops and shorts for close-toed shoes and fleece more than usual this summer.
The cool, gloomy weather is almost as hot a topic in town as steep gas prices.
But forecasters and climatologists say that while temperatures are below average, they aren't reaching any notable extremes. Problem is, the gray skies over Southcentral this year are following several years of pretty nice weather.
"I think there's a perception thing because there's been a lot of cloud cover this summer," said Sam Albanese, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Anchorage.
"Really what's happening this year is nothing extraordinary. ... It's just that '04 and '05 were so (warm and sunny) ... and it's so fresh in people's memories that people think, 'Wow, this is so cold.' "
The record-setting summer of 2004 spoiled Anchorage residents, forecasters said.
Between June and August of that year, more than 40 days had high temperatures over 70 degrees.
Normally, Anchorage has 14 or 15 days in the summer that reach the 70-degree mark, Albanese said.
This year, there have been two. And the city didn't see 70 at all until July 2. That threshold typically comes in early to mid-June, according to weather records.
So far this month, the daily high temperature has fallen below the average high for the date more than half the time. In fact, the temperature has missed the mark every day for the past week.
And in June, temperatures fell below the average high on 24 of 30 days.
Plants are blooming later and slower because of the low temperatures, said Barbara Miller, senior horticulturist at the Alaska Botanical Garden.
"Some of the later-blooming plants are probably going to have problems," she said. "They're going to run out of summer and their buds will probably be frozen."
It's not been good for some tropical annuals, like impatiens, that depend on warmer weather. "They're just in the ground, sitting there, not growing," Miller said.
But the sunless days aren't a substitute for watering plants.
"You can't warm up the climate, but you can keep things watered well," Miller said. "The rain we get, you can't even count that."
Pat Mulligan, president of the Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers, said the low temperatures are making it harder to grow produce.
"If people in the (fruit growers) club are growing apples that are pushing the envelope to ripen before frost, now the growing season is shorter," he said. "You're talking substantial loss of growing time."
The weekend market downtown is also feeling the chill, said Dana Reese, operations manager of Anchorage Market & Festival.
"We've never had one weekend of just sun -- we've had bad luck," she said. "When we don't get (as many) market attendees, our vendors don't do well, and if vendors don't do good, we don't do good."
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?
Judging by the pattern of June weather over nearly two decades, this should've been a warm summer, meteorologist David Vonderheide said.
"Every four to five years we would get a cool June, and then bang -- something has happened to interrupt this little cycle," Vonderheide said.
He thinks the strong forces of La Nina are the culprit. La Nina, a phenomenon that causes ocean temperatures to dip below average, kicked in this year and resulted in a drop in land temperatures, Albanese said.
Another cause could be Pacific decadal oscillation, a cyclical period of lower ocean temperatures that comes every 20 to 25 years.
There's a warm phase and a cold phase of the climate pattern, Vonderheide said.
"We were in a warm phase of the Pacific decadal oscillation in the '80s and '90s," he said. "(Some forecasters) believe we may have entered into the cold phase."
As in any coastal area, the ocean's temperature has great influence on the weather in Anchorage, forecasters say.
Land both heats and cools more easily than water, so subtle temperature changes in the Pacific Ocean can mean dramatic variations on Alaska land.
END IN SIGHT?
Based on the Weather Service's outlook for the rest of the month, people should get used to the cooler temperatures, Vonderheide said.
The center of the area with below-average temperatures is Anchorage, he said.
"We're right in the middle of this," Vonderheide said. "We're not looking for any kind of a break -- a nice, long, sunny dry period."
But weather patterns can switch up from month to month.
"July seems to be a loss, but there is potential -- and I could be way out -- that we might get a nice August," Vonderheide said. "It's at least something to hope for -- it's going to do what it wants to do."