Record-breaking heat hits Alaska

Ben Domensino, 5 July 2019

All-time maximum temperature records are being broken in parts of Alaska this week.

A slow-moving and unusually strong region of high pressure, combined with a mass of warm air, caused temperatures to reach unprecedented levels in Alaska on Thursday.

Image: ECMWF-HRES model showing hot air over Alaska on Thursday.

The state's most populated city, Anchorage, reached 89 degrees Fahrenheit (~ 32 degrees Celsius) at Ted Stevens International Airport late on Thursday afternoon. This broke Anchorage's previous maximum temperature record of 85°F (~29°C) from June 14, 1969. Data for the airport goes back to 1952.

The heat is also contributing to a number of bushfires in Alaska, prompting advisories for dense smoke in some areas.

Record-challenging heat and smoke will persist in Alaska through the weekend and into the start of next week underneath the stubborn high pressure system.