Will we hit 70 degrees this week in Anchorage?
Will we hit 70 degrees this week in Anchorage? Probably not, but if we all stopped trying at probably not — the world would be a very different place.
We do have a few things working for us this week that might just get us up to 70 degrees for the first time this year. Ample sunshine, light winds and persistent offshore flow are all the right ingredients. Fairbanks already eclipsed 70 degrees 10 times this year, so why haven't we?
For starters, Fairbanks typically his 70 degrees in May. The average first 70 degree day in Fairbanks since records began is May 20. So it only makes sense that Fairbanks would already have more than a handful of 70 degree days on the books for 2019.
Anchorage is a bit different, with the first 70 degree day typically being June 6. That's averaging records from 1954 to 2018. In that time, we have seen a few anomalies. The earliest 70 degree day on record was May 8, 1981; the latest — July 25, 1987.
If you take all of that into consideration, a 70 degree day this week would be right on schedule. In fact, Thursday would be the average first day and according to some forecast models, that just might happen.
Meteorologists look at a few different forecast models every time a forecast is made. This data gives forecasters possible weather in the coming days given the information at hand. Often, the output varies greatly between models.
The two major weather models we use to forecast the weather are the Global Forecast System (GFS) and the North American Mesoscale Forecast System (NAM). 00Z and 12Z are the times when new model runs happen. It's based off a universal time zone, which is eight hours ahead of Anchorage.
If you look at the highlighted areas in the above image, you can see that the 00Z run of the GFS, which equates to 4 p.m. the previous day, shows 69 degrees for a high Thursday and 70 degrees for a high temperature on Friday.
The 12Z run of the GFS, which equates to 4 a.m. the day of, highlighted in the second image below, kept the warmth — calling for 68 degrees both Thursday and Friday is a fair amount of agreement to the previous run.
The GFS calls for near 70 degrees both Thursday and Friday, while the NAM thinks temperatures will stay a little closer to the low-60s.
Both models keep us fairly dry, with just a few isolated showers in the coming days. Wind speed and moisture in the atmosphere look to be in pretty solid agreement as well. This is where the experience as a meteorologist comes into play.
Judging by Monday's warmth and how fast temperatures climbed Tuesday, the warmth of the GFS isn't out of question. Our overall weather pattern doesn't have any major disturbances in the forecast. Ample sunshine and offshore-flow also point toward increased warmth.
It isn't uncommon for the forecast models to be off by a few degrees. If you look at the differences between the GFS and the NAM, one or both will be off by a few degrees no matter what. This week, the NAM has been trending cold while the GFS is almost dead on. If that trend continues, it is likely we will eclipse 70 degrees in Anchorage before we close out the week.
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