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Yup, it's hot: Southcentral Alaska communities set temperature records

  • Author: Laurel Andrews
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published August 5, 2015

You're not imagining it -- Southcentral Alaska is hotter than usual.

"It has been a warm summer across Anchorage, to say the least," the National Weather Service wrote in a public information statement Tuesday.

The warm weather was forecast to continue for a few more days.

As of Wednesday, Anchorage had seen 32 days this season with official temperatures 70 degrees and higher, putting this season fourth in the number of 70-degree-and-warmer days since recordkeeping began in April 1952.

The Anchorage summer with the most 70-degree-plus days was in 2013, a year of wild weather across the state.

On Tuesday, Anchorage saw a record high temperature, prompting the National Weather Service Anchorage to tweet about the #toasty weather:

#Anchorage: new record high temperature set at 77°F. Old record was 74° from 1997. #Alaska #AKwx #Toasty #SummerSwelter— NWS Anchorage (@NWSAnchorage) August 5, 2015

Tuesday's high temperature was later revised to 78 degrees.

The warmer weather is partially due to warmer-than-usual waters in the Gulf of Alaska that are ushering warm air inland, said Luis Ingram, meteorologist with the weather service's Alaska region office.

The warm waters are "part of a natural cycle," Ingram said. "Eventually the cycle will flip back, back toward cooler waters again."

The effect of warm ocean waters is apparent when comparing temperatures in coastal Southcentral communities to inland Alaska communities, Ingram said.

In Seward, eight record-high temperatures have been recorded since June 1. The city is experiencing its fifth warmest summer on record. Meanwhile, in Kenai, 6 record highs have been set since June 1.

But Gulkana, north of Glennallen, and Talkeetna have seen only one record high temperature each this summer.

Also in Anchorage, this summer is tied for first place for the number of days 80 degrees and warmer. Anchorage has had four days 80 degrees and up so far this summer -- the only other year matching that was 1953.

#Anchorage record highs in danger again today. Avg highs run in the mid 60s for early August. #Alaska #AKwx (1/2)— NWS Anchorage (@NWSAnchorage) August 4, 2015
(2/2) #Anchorage: 2015 is now in Top 5 for years with days at or above 70ºF. Tied for 1st for # of days above 80ºF #AKwx #Alaska— NWS Anchorage (@NWSAnchorage) August 4, 2015

"Eighty-degree days are quite rare" in Anchorage, the agency reported Tuesday. "Out of 64 years of climate information for Anchorage, only 17 years have had a day with temperatures 80 degrees or warmer."

Interior Alaska was also seeing warm weather Wednesday, but nothing to make the record books, said Ben Bartos, meteorologist with the NWS Fairbanks Forecast Office.

Unusual weather has rolled through the Interior, though. Fairbanks saw early morning thunderstorms Wednesday, atypical for the region.

"We usually need the sun to kick them off," Bartos said, but there's been enough "lingering energy" to spark thunderstorms before the afternoon.

Looking forward, Anchorage can expect a couple more days of warm, dry weather, Ingram said. The first chance of rain isn't until Saturday night, according to the NWS forecast.