Poor air quality and record heat likely this weekend
High pressure is both keeping Southcentral warm and dry, while also helping trap smoke over the area.
Smoke from the Swan Lake Fire drifted north overnight and with light winds and a "sinking" atmosphere, the smoke was trapped with nowhere to go. This brought the Air Quality in Anchorage to unhealthy levels and blocked our beautiful view.
There are two advisories you need to know about. First, an Air Quality Advisory is in effect Anchorage through Sunday. When the air quality reaches an unhealthy level, like we saw most of Friday, it's recommended to avoid heavy outdoor exertion, meaning don't exercise outside. And if you're more sensitive to the smoke to stay inside as much as possible.
There is also a Dense Smoke Advisory in place for the Sterling Highway Corridor where the smoke, at times, is causing the visibility to drop to near zero. It's recommended when this happens to reduce speed and keep your headlights on and drive cautiously.
This ridge is helping bring in warmer air from the south as the Jet Stream has moved north, the ridge is also blocking any other storms from moving in, which means stagnant conditions and no chance for rain, and finally, high pressure forces the air to "sink" from the higher elevations which compresses it and heats it up further. It was back to the 70s and 80s across much of Southcentral Friday for the second day in a row and we'll see similar conditions across Southcentral Saturday and only a few degrees cooler on Sunday. The Mat-Su will be 5-10 degrees warmer than Anchorage.
With temperatures, this warm, June 2019 will likely end up being the warmest June on record!
We'll kick off the month of July slightly cooler with highs in the low as the ridge of high pressure temporarily weakens, but by the middle part of next week, we'll be right back into the mid-70s and there is still no significant rain in the forecast.
Do your best to stay cool and out of the smoke this weekend!
-Chief Meteorologist Melissa Frey
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