Anchorage's October unofficially warmest on record

Zaz Hollander
Bob Hallinen

October in Anchorage is about to go down as the warmest on record.

The monthly average temperature as of mid-afternoon Thursday was 43.1 degrees, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Peterson. The year to beat is 1936, when the average was 42.1.

Peterson couldn't officially declare Anchorage's October the new record because the day wasn't over yet. But the Thursday afternoon high of 42 seemed poised to put it over the top.

"We're on track to being the warmest," he said.

Meanwhile, Interior Alaska's warm autumn led to what the National Weather Service's Facebook page called "an extremely rare sight for late October: a layer of smoke from the 67,000 acre Mississippi wildfire" spotted south of Fairbanks on Wednesday. Strong winds and record warm temperatures in the low 60s reignited the fire on Monday.

The normal average for October in Anchorage is 34.8 degrees, with a high of 40.5 and a low of 29.1. This October's high -- 57 degrees on Oct. 16 -- tied the record. The low was 26 degrees on Oct. 24.

But 1936 still holds the record for rain. A total of 5.13 inches fell that year. The Weather Service had only measured 3.15 inches in Anchorage as of Thursday afternoon.

Most everybody this week seemed happy with the strangely moderate days. No windshield scraping. Late-season fishing. Trick-or-treaters commandeering candy without three layers of coats on.

Well, almost everybody.

"You probably don't want me," said Jerry McArthur, owner of snow removal company Plow Alaska. "You couldn't print what I got to say."

McArthur and a friend were talking Thursday morning. He asked the guy the last time he saw green grass this late in the year. Back home in Mississippi, he answered.

"Exactly," McArthur told him.

Peterson, the meteorologist, found something to be thankful for in his bag of weather data from years past.

The low in Anchorage on Halloween in 1975 was 13 degrees.

Reach Zaz Hollander at or 257-4317.