Are we saying goodbye to 70-degree temperatures?
With the summer season winding down and school back in session, one can have many things to look forward to.
Not only is it hunting season, but it's also the time of the year when many begin to appreciate the true beauty in nature as the leaves change. It reminds us all that the cool, crisp mornings are just right around the corner. It's those mornings many of us are likely looking forward to, considering we are coming off the heels of the hottest summer on record.
Not only were numerous records broken throughout the summer months, but we saw the most 70-plus degree days in recorded history.
While 70 degrees might seem pleasant, thanks to the high latitude of Alaska, it's certainly much more warmer than a 70-degree temperature in the Lower 48. Because Alaska is at a higher latitude than any other state, the sun is at a lower angle in the sky. This leads to more of your body being exposed to direct sunlight, whereas those in the lower 48 see a higher sun angle.
A higher sun angle simply means you see the sun nearly overhead, which can easily be blocked out by wearing a hat. Because our bodies in Alaska are being exposed to more of direct sunlight it feels 10-15 degrees hotter, making a typical 70-degree day a scorcher.
That's certainly what we saw this past summer, as 49 days topped out at or above the 70-degree mark. It was a brand new record for Anchorage, beating out the previous record of 40 days set back in 2004. What's even more astonishing is that out of those 49 days, 31 saw temperatures soaring 75-plus degrees. It obliterated the previous record of 15 days set back in 2015. Since record-keeping began for Anchorage in 1954, there have only been 4 years where temperatures were in the double digits for 75-plus degree days.
Tacking on the 10-15 degrees in direct sunlight and, for many of us, it felt like the temperatures were near 90 each and every day. It was hot enough to force people in Anchorage to buy air conditioners and fans just to keep cool.
So with meteorological summer finally in our rearview mirror and the days already noticeably cooler, are we done with the 70s? The short answer is most likely yes, as historically it's extremely hard to get temperatures in the 70s once September arrives. Only eight times in recorded history has September seen temperatures above 70 degrees, with the most recent occurring last year. That was on Sept. 14, when the thermometer briefly touched 70 degrees. Historically speaking the last 70-degree day in Anchorage typically falls around Aug. 12.
So while we are saying goodbye to the 70s and the cooler weather is already being felt in the air, keep in mind that there will be some days when temperatures are still on the warmer side. The Climate Prediction Center highlights that a large portion of the state will continue to see the potential for above-normal temperatures. With our daily average dropping daily, this will mean that we'll likely stay in the upper 50s and lower 60s through a good chunk of September before fall truly settles into the region. Of course, there will be days that are outliers depending on storms that impact us and the amount of cloud coverage, but the weather pattern suggests yes we are through with the 70s, but we'll still see unseasonably warm days through the rest of September.
If this post doesn't cool you off, then how about this: Anchorage usually sees its first 32-degree low around Sept. 24, with the first inch of snow around Oct. 22.
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