If you thought May in Alaska’s largest city was almost too good to be true, you were right.
The official report from the National Weather Service is now in, and it ranks May 2016 as the second warmest in Anchorage history. The average temperature of 52 degrees was a whopping 4.2 degrees above normal and only a half degree behind the monthly record set in 2014.
No snow fell all month. The third of an inch of rain was less than half the normal. A temperature record was set on May 15 when a high of 72 degrees topped the old record of 65. Temperatures stayed above freezing all month.
And there were five days when the thermometer reached 70 degrees or above. That makes 2016 already twice as good as 2008, and summer is just beginning. Two-thousand-eight was Anchorage’s last mini-Ice Age.
The temperature only hit 70 twice, which later caused NWS climate scientist John Papineau to wax poetic in a report that noted how “most peoples’ expectation of summer is a period of abundant sunshine with warm (relative) temperatures. That idealized picture is often shattered however by the reality of living in the high northern latitudes. The summers of 2010 and 2008 (the agony) for example do not measure up to the Visitors Bureau classic portrait of a sunny inviting vacation spot.”
Well, the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau couldn’t have asked for anything better than it received from Mother Nature so far this year:
Only four days in May saw the thermometer dip below the normal low. Two days went 13 degrees above the norm. The coldest overnight lows were 34 degrees, and both of those came on or before May 5.
And the best thing is the trend appears to be continuing. High temperatures have been above normal since mid-May, and the national Climate Prediction Center has Anchorage and most of Alaska in the red, meaning above normal, for all of June.
Long-range climate forecasts are always iffy, but the prediction center is sticking with above normal temps for Alaska for July, August and September as well.