Drought worsens as wind returns
A storm in the Gulf will impact Southcentral Thursday despite it staying well to the south. The storm will shift wind to a more easterly direction and kick up some powerful gusts at times. That change in wind direction and an increase in wind speed will likely bring about a return of smoke to the Anchorage bowl. Thankfully not near as bad as what we saw earlier this week.
Smoke in the upper levels of the atmosphere will increase throughout the day on Thursday as easterly winds pick up. The increase in wind speed will also help keep a lot of the smoke particulates from settling down to the ground. For that reason, we will likely hover between moderate and unhealthy for sensitive groups air quality through the day.
Temperatures will climb from the upper 40s in the morning to the mid-60s under a hazy, sunny sky.
Those winds will complicate things for crews battling the multiple wildfires across the region. Any wind will essentially "fan the flame" stoking the fire. It also helps the fire spread. Thankfully, this go-round, the wind won't be near as powerful as the weekend. Crews are prepared for the increased wind, watching the fire lines closely.
The latest drought monitor puts Southcentral under extreme drought for the first time in recorded history. Anchorage is a little more than 4 inches behind in terms of rainfall from June 1st to today. Meaning any dry vegetation will easily ignite.
The next chance of rain comes Friday as scattered showers develop on the backside of the Gulf storm. At this time, it looks like most of the activity remains north, but any little bit helps. Temperatures stay pretty steady for the next week. Upper-40s overnight, climbing to the mid-60s each afternoon.
We dry out Saturday before another quick chance of rain Sunday. These chances don't bring any significant rain to the region, which is what we desperately need— but there is some indication in long-range forecast models that the needed moisture could be on its way.
-Meteorologist Jeremy LaGoo