The heat is on


Hot Alaska sun/Craig Medred phot

Get out the sunbrella and chill the beer, the National Weather Service is warning that global warming is returning to Alaska’s largest city.

A special weather statement from the federal agency today warned that Anchorage area temperatures could by Saturday climb into the “lower 70s along the coast and mid 70s to lower 80s inland.”

The climate normal for the state’s largest city this time of year is a high of 64 degrees and a low of 57.

Alaska’s urban core registered record temperatures in 2015 and into 2016, but started trending back toward normal or colder in December. Temperatures have shown considerable variation since then.

January was 3.5 degrees below normal, February 1.5 below, March 7.4 below, April 3.6 above, May 0.1 above, June near normal, and July 1.4 degrees above. 

Overall for the year to date, those fluctuations average out to a near normal year for Anchorage. It has been somewhat warmer in the Interior.

After enduring a March that 14.4 degrees colder than normal, Fairbanks climbed to 3.6 degree above the norm in April with May near normal before June at 2.4 degrees above and July at 3.2 degrees above.

It was 69 there Thursday afternoon with the forecast calling for temperatures to push up to near 80 degrees by Saturday. 

Despite the upcoming weekend heat wave, there are no indications the state will come close to 2016, which declared “off the charts.” 

“…Warmer than average days outnumbered cooler than normal days by an amazing 9 to 1 ratio,” the national climate center reported. “Nearly all of the cooler than normal days were squeezed in near the end of the year, from mid-November to mid-December.”

Don’t expect that to happen again, although the three-month outlook from the national Climate Prediction Center says there is a 50 to 60 percent probability that Alaska will continue to be warmer than normal. It just that it doesn’t look like the state will come anywhere close to challenging 2016.

Still, National Weather Service forecaster Rick Thoman is optimistic about a nice late-summer and early fall in the 49th state.

“For Alaska, early autumn has the strongest (warming) trend of any time of year,” he said. ” Loss of sea ice a big contributor.”

The “Blob” in the Gulf of Alaska didn’t hurt either. But it went into hibernation last fall and has stayed undersea ever since. 




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