Record-shattering heat bakes Alaska

A searing dome of heat has laid itself out over interior Alaska, pushing temperatures to all-time records in several locations.

Difference from average pressures at high altitudes (500 mb, 18,000 feet) indicating a very strong area of high pressure over Alaska's interior. (WeatherBell.com)

Red shades over Alaska’s interior indicate an unusually strong ridge of high pressure at high altitudes, which promotes sinking air and hot weather. (WeatherBell.com)

The core of heat was lodged over south central Alaska where the mercury spiked into the mid-90s Monday, nearly 30 degrees above average and warmer than anywhere east of the Mississippi in the contiguous U.S.

Temperature difference from average in Alaska on Monday (WeatherBell.com)

Temperature difference from average in Alaska on Monday (WeatherBell.com)

Even Alaskan coastal areas where stifling (by their standards). Valdez and Cordova both established new all-time record highs, climbing to 90 degrees.

“Anchorage National Weather Service meteorologists are also impressed that three of the four all-time records are located on the Gulf of Alaska coast, places that are normally moderated by an afternoon sea breeze,” says the National Weather Service Facebook page.

All-time record highs in Alaska Monday (note: this graphic was made for Talkeetna reached its high for the day, 96 and Valdez, 90). Credit: NWS

All-time record highs in Alaska Monday (note: this graphic was made for Talkeetna reached its high for the day, 96 and Valdez, 90). Credit: NWS

In Talkeetna, in the interior, the temperature hit a scorching 96 degrees Monday, a new all-time record, blasting by its previous hottest day of 91, set just the day before (Sunday).

Meteorologist Scott Sistek, at KOMO News in Seattle, posted some additional interesting notes on his blog:

* Seward was 88 degrees in the middle afternoon [an all-time record] but a sea breeze blew in and the temperature dropped from 88 to 73 in an hour.
* It was hot, but not quite all-time-record hot, just to the south where Skagway hit 86 and Juneau hit 82 with a very rare thunderstorm on the heels of an 85 degree day Sunday.

Climate Central’s Andrew Freedman writes Nome soared to 84, a new record high for June.

Temperatures across the region are forecast to be warm today, but not at yesterday’s extreme levels and more variable between the coast and inland. Sea breezes may hold highs in some coastal locations to near 70, while interior south central Alaska may flirt with 90. These highs are still well above normals in the 60s in most locations.

The heat wave follows a cold, wet spring in Alaska. It was the 18th coldest spring on record there (since 1918) and 31st wettest.

Time series of temperature difference from average during meteorological spring in Alaska (NOAA)

Time series of temperature difference from average during meteorological spring in Alaska (NOAA)

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