Baked Alaska: Anchorage Smashes Temperature Record As Thermometer Hits 32C

Cook Inlet, Anchorage, Alaska. (Image: Flickr/Mark VanDyke)

This year’s Independence Day in Anchorage, Alaska, was not one its residents will soon forget. The temperature got as high as 32C, establishing a new record for the northern city.

In a tweet put out yesterday afternoon, the National Weather Service (NWS) for Anchorage said the record breaking temperature happened at around 5:00PM local time at Ted Stevens International Airport.

The previous record for the city was 29.4C, which occurred in June 1969. The average high for Anchorage on Independence Day is 18C according to the NWS, whose records go as far back as 1954.

As the Anchorage Daily News pointed out, official temperatures used to be recorded at Merrill Field airport, which was done from 1943 to 1952. Merrill Field reached the 32C mark once before, but this is “the warmest temperature ever measured in the Anchorage Bowl,” tweeted Alaskan climatologist Brian Brettschneider.

While a record for Anchorage, this is not a record for the state. In 1915, Fort Yukon in central eastern Alaska reached 37.7C. More recently, McGrath hit 31.6C on 17 June 2013, according to AccuWeather.

Several other districts in Alaska set all-time or daily records on July 4 as unusually warm weather grips the state. Temperatures in both Kenai and King Salmon reached 31.6C on Thursday.

A bulletin issued by the NWS is predicting more hot weather over the coming days and into next week. Anchorage “will continue to set daily record highs into early next week,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Ryan Adamson.

The heatwave is being attributed to an oversized and stationary high pressure ridge that’s pulling in warm air from the south and preventing cool ocean air from entering inland, according to the NWS.

The previous month was the warmest June on record, featuring an average temperature of 15.8C, which is 2.9C above average. June 2019 now represents the 16th consecutive month in which average temperatures were above normal, reports CNN.

June in Alaska was also exceptionally dry, receiving just 0.15cm of rain — a mere six per cent of its normal total. The dry weather prompted the state’s fire marshal to ban the sale and use of fireworks in much of Alaska.

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