MAT-SU — High temperatures in the Mat-Su Valley have persisted over a week, and a low hanging layer of smoke is adding to the unusually high temperatures. Temperatures in the Valley this week have the chance to make the all-time record books.
“If our forecast models hold true it looks like we will be in this list before the week is over,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist Lucas Boyer.
Boyer said that a consistent pattern of high pressure is keeping the hot air locked in place.
“As long as you have high pressure and you get these northerly offshore kind of flows, you’re going to see temps climbing in the area,” Boyer said.
According to Boyer, the hottest July temperature recorded at the Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage was 84 degrees on July 8, 2003. July 2, 1989 holds the number two spot on highest July temperatures at 82 degrees, and three years are tied for third. In 2015, 1977 and 1955, temperatures reached 81 degrees at the airport.
Boyer said that there is little evidence that the layer of smoke hanging over much of Southcentral Alaska from the Swan Lake Fire is increasing the temperatures. Anchorage issued its first ever dense smoke advisory, which was based on lack of visibility.
“We’re not seeing any causation there for smoke causing overnight lows to be higher,” Boyer said.
Boyer said that the existing high pressure systems are keeping thermometers rising. The heat is a direct result of a synoptic pattern, and warm air coming in from the south is much more difficult to blow away than warm weather patterns coming from the north.
“It’s really hard for us to cool off like we normally do,” Boyer said.