The Washington Post

Alaska heat wave: Anchorage sets record for most consecutive 70-degree days

Here in Washington, D.C., we track 90-degree days.  Up in the Last Frontier, they have a slightly lower standard: 70 degrees is considered basking in warmth.

On Monday, Anchorage reached the 70-degree threshold for a record 14th straight day, breaking 2004’s record of 13.  Alaska’s largest city could add another few days to the streak, with forecast highs around 70 through Friday.


Today’s front page of the Anchorage Daily News (Anchorage Daily News)

In addition to the record-breaking 70-degree streak, Anchorage is closing in on the most 70-degree days logged over an entire summer.  It has 38 so far, compared to the record of 49 from 2004.

To its north, Fairbanks has also been unseasonably warm.    Reports the Associated Press:

[T]emperatures Monday reached 80 or higher for the 29th day this summer. The record is 30 days of 80 degrees or higher, set in 2004.

Consider Fairbanks averages just 11 80-degree days per summer (compared to this year’s 29, already).

Interestingly, Anchorage and Fairbanks have experienced their heat waves just as Washington, D.C. and the eastern U.S. have turned cool.  That’s often the case…as an atmosphere see-saw tends to set up between northwest North America and its eastern counterpart.


GFS model simulates warm ridge (bump in jet stream) over Alaska and cool trough (dip in jet stream) over eastern North America for Thursday, August 1. (WeatherBell.com)

Notice that Anchorage’s other big year for warmth was 2004.  In Washington, D.C., the summer of 2004 was the among the top 5 coolest in the last 30.

Related: Record-shattering heat bakes Alaska | Alaska continues to fry, as wildfires flare up

Jason is the Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist. He earned a master's degree in atmospheric science, and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government. He holds the Digital Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association.
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