Yes, agrees Weather Service, it's been a miserable summer

NEARING A RECORD: Blame a stubborn low-pressure system.

August 12, 2010 

This summer has so far been one of the coldest, gloomiest and wettest on record for Southcentral Alaska, the National Weather Service confirmed Thursday.

Should a drop of rain fall today -- and forecasters say it likely will -- Anchorage will have tied the record for the most consecutive rainy days.

The unshakable rain and cool weather is the result of a low-pressure system that's been stagnant over the Bering Sea since early June and helping to funnel tropical moisture into the state, said forecaster Shaun Baines.

"Almost the whole summer we've had this low pressure sitting over the Bering Sea with that onshore flow, and we just get one little system after another just rotating right over top of us," Baines said. "So it's a lot of moisture off the water, a lot of clouds."

Weather systems across the Northern Hemisphere have been fairly stable this summer, resulting in persistent weather in many locations, he said.

Places like Eastern Siberia and the East Coast, for example, have experienced higher-than-normal temperatures as a result, according to the weather service. People in Alaska and some parts of the West Coast, however, got stuck with below-average temperatures.

According to weather service numbers, the period from June 1 through Aug. 11 this year had an average high temperature of 62 degrees, coming in as the 10th coldest on record. The normal high for the period is 64.3 degrees.

The weather service recorded 5.98 inches of rain in Anchorage between June 1 and Aug. 11, ranking the period as the sixth-wettest on record. Anchorage normally gets 3.54 inches of rain in that period; the record is 7.89 inches in 1958.

But while Anchorage may not have set any records for the amount of rain, it is on track to be the cloudiest and gloomiest summer in recorded history. As of Thursday, the weather service documented 26 consecutive days with a trace or more of precipitation in Anchorage -- one day shy of the record 27 days recorded in 1951.

And Baines said it was likely there would be at least a trace of rain over Thursday night, enough to tie the record.

The weather service has not tallied a fair, cloud-free day in Anchorage since April. It reported that this summer is following a similar pattern to the summer of 2008, which finished as the second-coldest on record with an average high temperature of 60.6 from June 1 through Aug. 11.

The total rainfall this summer has already beaten the soggy summer of just two years ago. The summer of 2008 did see two separate stretches of consecutive rainy days that extended beyond three weeks each. But neither of those 2008 stretches was as long as the 26-day run of rainy days, through Thursday, that this summer has had.

But things have to clear up soon and save the rest of the summer, right?

"Looking at the next seven days? No," Baines said. "And climatology goes against that happening, because as we head into mid to late August -- and definitely September -- that becomes our wettest time of year here in Anchorage."

Find James Halpin online at or call him at 257-4589.

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