The temperature at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport rose to 45 degrees Saturday, breaking a daily temperature record set 31 years ago, according to the National Weather Service.
The previous Dec. 14 record high temperature of 41 degrees was recorded at the airport in 1988.
Saturday’s record comes on the heels of more record-breaking December warmth, according to meteorologist Cynthia Kobold with the National Weather Service in Anchorage. A daily record high of 51 degrees was recorded at the airport on Monday, breaking a record of 48 degrees set in 2005. A day earlier, another daily record high of 46 degrees broke a record set in 2006.
The National Weather Service started keeping temperature records for Anchorage in 1952.
The recent high temperatures were driven by strong winds from the southeast that pushed warmer air up into the Anchorage Bowl, according to Kobold. Gusting winds at McHugh Creek began Friday night, ratcheting up temperatures, Kobold said.
As warm air moves north from subtropical and moist areas like Hawaii, it can bring moisture in the form of an atmospheric river, which the weather service here has seen "over and over again for at least the last month,” Kobold said. It brought rainfall to Anchorage and melted the snow.
But a cooldown is possible, Kobold said, if wind from the north takes over or if the winds shuts off entirely.
Temperatures are expected to be “near or slightly above normal” for the Anchorage area through Dec. 21, according to meteorologist Pam Szatanek.
Another daily record high was set Saturday on the Kenai Peninsula in Seldovia, which reached 54 degrees, Szatanek said. The previous daily record of 46 degrees was set in 2011.