Alaska News

As warm summer continues, Deadhorse ties record high temperature

A weather station that sits in the hub of Alaska's North Slope oil fields tied its all-time high temperature Sunday, though it comes with a couple of caveats.

A little after 3:30 in the afternoon, the mercury in thermometers at Deadhorse topped out at the 82-degree mark, according to the National Weather Service.

That matches the highest temperature ever recorded at the community, situated near the Arctic Ocean and well above the Arctic Circle. The last time it got that warm was Aug. 5, 1999.

The second-highest temperature for the Deadhorse recording station was 79, set Aug. 16, 2004, while the previous high for June 21, set in 2007, was 68 degrees.

Reliable climate data for Deadhorse only goes back to 1999, according to Rick Thoman, climate science and services manager with the National Weather Service in Fairbanks. Prior to that, from 1969 to 1999, the primary recording station was situated at an airstrip belonging to oil company Arco about 5 miles to the northeast of the Deadhorse station.

The Arco airstrip station on multiple occasions recorded a temperature of 83 degrees: the first came on July 17, 1974, and the second on June 21, 1991. Thoman said the station also hit 83 degrees in August of 1999, the year the Deadhorse station began providing the climate data for the Prudhoe Bay area.

Deadhorse wasn't the only Alaska community where temperature records were matched or broken Sunday.

In Kotzebue, Sunday's lowest temperature was 62 degrees, setting a record for the highest low temperature, and breaking the previous high minimum mark, 56 degrees, set in 1987.

Bethel, meanwhile, tied its record for a daily high minimum temperature Sunday, with temperatures falling only to 54 degrees. That last time low temperature was that high on June 21 was 1944.

Yakutat also tied a longstanding record for the highest low temperature on June 21, with temperatures falling to 52 degrees Sunday. That matched a record for the date set in 1959.

Correction: Based on a statement from the National Weather Service, this story originally stated that Deadhorse had set an all-time high temperature. It actually tied the all-time high temperature recorded at the Deadhorse station.