Alaska is a land of extremes, but the weather of the past month has been truly exceptional. An intense ridge of high pressure, part of an extreme jet stream pattern that has become "stuck" in place for many days, is creating the state's hottest heat wave in 44 years this week. Numerous cities in Alaska have recorded their all-time hottest temperatures on record, and according to wunderground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, the unofficial 98° measured at Bentalit Lodge on Monday, June 17, ties the record for the hottest reliably measured temperature in state history. The only other time Alaska has been this hot was on June 15, 1969, when the mercury hit 96° in Fairbanks, and a 98° reading was recorded in Richardson (near Fairbanks.) Mr. Burt writes: One thing that is so astonishing about the current heat wave in Alaska is how abnormally cold it was just a month ago. McGrath, which reached its all-time record high of 94° on Monday, recorded a 15° temperature on May 18th, the coldest temperature (by 4°) ever measured so late in the season there (McGrath went on to reach 86° on May 29th, its warmest May temperature on record!).
Figure 1. Another hot day in the Great Land: forecast highs for Wednesday, June 19, call for high temperatures in excess of 90° north of the Arctic Circle in Alaska.
Figure 2 . A rare cloud-free view of Alaska. This June 17, 2013 MODIS shot of Alaska, taken during the state's hottest heat wave in 44 years, is remarkably cloud-free-thanks to the intense ridge of high pressure over the state. The heat helped fuel several wildfires, marked with red squares. Image credit: NASA.
Alaska Bakes with All-time Heat Records by wunderground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt
All-Time Heat Records Broken in . . . Alaska?! by Andrew Freeman of climatecentral.org
Unusual. Low tide, the old and new. Old saltwater pumping station that operated 100 years ago sits on the beach at low tide while a small cruise ship departs behnd.