On Independence Day, the temperature in Anchorage soared higher than at any other time on record as a massive heat dome sprawled over the state. The city’s high temperature of 90 degrees topped its previous record by an astounding five degrees.
To break the June 1969 record of 85 degrees by such a margin was extraordinary. Even breaking such a record by one degree would have been notable.
The forecast for Anchorage and southern Alaska calls for the continuation of exceptionally hot weather through early next week, with temperatures frequently at historically high levels well into the 80s.
“This is an unprecedented heatwave for #Alaska,” tweeted Steve Bowen, a meteorologist with reinsurer Aon.
Anchorage wasn’t alone in posting record heat on July 4. It was joined by several other locations across the coastal region of southern Alaska.
According to the National Weather Service office in Anchorage, Kenai and King Salmon both reached 89 degrees for new marks. Palmer was 88 degrees, which tied its record. Other spots like Kodiak saw their highest temperatures for the month of July.
The jaw dropping 90-degree all-time high in Anchorage, some 25 degrees above normal, was only one degree cooler than Washington’s 91 degrees on the Fourth. If Washington had been 25 degrees above normal, its temperature would have hit 113.
A handful of other places besides Anchorage that topped out at 90 degrees on the Fourth include West Palm Beach, Fla.; Memphis; Wichita; and New York’s Central Park.
Officials feared the hot, dry weather could exacerbate an explosive wildfire situation. Anchorage is under a burn ban and canceled its July 4 fireworks show. Many wildfires continue to torch the state, including the 85,000 acre Swan Lake Fire on the Kenai Peninsula. Smoke from that fire has at times been blowing into Anchorage and other towns.
While this round of heat peaks over the weekend, hotter than normal weather is predicted to persist until mid-month. At that point, a cooler and stormier weather pattern may arrive.
The long-term outlook, much like the recent past, calls for more abnormal warmth as Alaska’s fever from climate-change induced warmth rolls on.