Baked Alaska: Anchorage Smashes Temperature Record as Thermometer Hits 32 Degrees

By George Dvorsky on at

This year’s U.S. Independence Day in Anchorage, Alaska, was not one its residents will soon forget as the temperature got as high as 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit), establishing a new record for the northern city.

In a tweet put out early Thursday morning, the National Weather Service (NWS) for Anchorage said the record breaking temperature happened at around 5:00 pm local time at Ted Stevens International Airport. The previous record for the city was 29.4 degrees Celsius (85 degrees Fahrenheit), which occurred in June 1969. The average high for Anchorage on Independence Day is 18 degrees Celsius (65 degrees Fahrenheit), 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 32 degrees 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 37.7 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit). More recently, McGrath hit 31.6 degrees Celsius (94 degrees Fahrenheit) on June 17, 2013, according to AccuWeather.

Several other districts in Alaska set all-time or daily records on July 4th as unusually warm weather grips the state. Temperatures in both Kenai and King Salmon reached 31.6 degrees Celsius (89 degrees Fahrenheit) on Thursday.

A bulletin issued by the NWS is predicting more hot weather 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 15.8 degrees Celsius (60.5 degrees Fahrenheit), which is around three degrees Celsius above average. June 2019 now represents the sixteenth consecutive month in which average temperatures were above normal, reports CNN.

June in Alaska was also exceptionally dry, receiving just 1.5 millimetres of rain (0.06 inches) —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.

Featured image: Flickr/Mark VanDyke