Anchorage's sunny weekend weather set record-high temperatures — including one day by a margin of 7 degrees — after a rainy August.
Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, where the city's official temperatures are recorded, had back-to-back record highs Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, the record 69 degrees set on Aug. 27, 1993, gave way to a new high of 72 degrees; on Sunday, the old record for Aug. 28 of 70 degrees, set in 1974, was blitzed by a new high of 77 degrees.
Meteorologists were expecting Monday's previous record high at the Anchorage airport – also 70 degrees – to fall as the sunny streak continued. The data showed as of Monday night that the record had been tied, but that could change as more information comes in, said NWS Anchorage meteorologist Dave Kochevar.
Anchorage-based NWS meteorologist Joe Wegman said the new conditions, prevailing since late last week, replaced a low-pressure system over Southcentral Alaska. That system was bringing winds north from over the Gulf of Alaska, helping to drive the constant rain many residents saw.
"This has been really a very different pattern from what we've had; we've basically flipped the pattern prior to this," Wegman said. "It was persistently doing that for almost a month now, so we've had consistently wetter weather for August as a whole."
The high temperatures weren't limited to just Anchorage, according to Wegman. Talkeetna's highs have been at 78 for the past three days; Cordova hit 78 Saturday and 77 Sunday, with Valdez at 79 and 75 for the same two days. Even Barrow hit a high of 64 degrees Saturday.
"It's very widespread," Wegman said. "Much of the state has been very, very warm in this pattern."
Temperatures at the Anchorage airport have also included a record 77-day run of lows at or above 50 degrees, blowing away the previous record of 53 days in 2013.
"The top four (low-temperature runs) were in the last four years," Wegman said.
Wegman said Sunday's high also set a record for Anchorage's latest temperature of 77 degrees or higher — beating out Aug. 21, 1977, when the mercury hit 82 degrees.
Not even clear night skies, which usually drive temperatures lower, have had much effect on the Southcentral heat wave, due to a steady supply of northerly winds bringing hot air from over Alaska's Interior.
"When the winds pick up, it disrupts the cooling process," Wegman said. "We've been having consistent winds at night, which has been keeping temperatures from falling as they otherwise would."
The combined effect, Wegman said, is an expected series of Anchorage highs in the 70-degree range this week.
"These are very late to be having temperatures this high," Wegman said. "We're going to be around record territory for quite a while yet."