Record warm and dry summer comes to a close
Despite the recent cooling trend and return to rain in the forecast, Anchorage will close out the summer as the warmest and driest ever recorded. August is typically the wettest month of the year, but that hasn't been the case this year. With such dry and hot conditions, this allowed many fires to flourish and grow all across Southcentral, leading to significantly unhealthy air quality. Thankfully the pattern has shifted and rain and cooler weather has returned to Southcentral.
The first round of rain arrived overnight with Anchorage seeing .03" of rain. Higher amounts fell on the Kenai, where Homer saw just under half an inch of rainfall. While this rain wasn't enough to suppress wildfires, any amount is certainly beneficial. It was just enough rain to wet the surface, with the heat of the fire still sheltered in the ground. This next system that will impact us through Labor Day could bring us the best chance of seeing some much needed wildfire relief.
Rain is expected to arrive through the night and last through Labor Day in several waves. Due to the nature of the system, as the low pushes onshore near Bristol Bay we'll see some windy conditions. Turnagain Arm, Hillside, higher elevations and Whittier could see gusts upwards of 50 mph through the day Sunday. While Anchorage won't see extremely windy conditions, we could see winds gusts up to 25 mph at the peak of the storm. The biggest impacts from the storm will be the winds and most certainly the rain. Coastal areas could pick upwards of 3 inches of rainfall, with areas inland likely seeing the effects of rain shadow.
While the heaviest rain will stay out of Anchorage, an additional .25" isn't out of the question and will certainly be beneficial to a region that is dealing with the driest summer on record.
Have a great Sunday!
-Meteorologist Aaron Morrison