Temperatures climbed to 90 degrees in Anchorage, Alaska, on Thursday, breaking the all-time heat record for the northerly city.
Anchorage’s previous record high (at least since 1952) was 85 degrees Fahrenheit, set on June 14, 1969.
The city of 300,000 people also had its hottest June ever, according to the National Weather Service. Average temperature for the month was 60.5 degrees, 5.3 degrees above normal. It was the 16th consecutive month with above-average temperatures.
It was also the driest June on record. The area received just 0.06 inches of rain during the month. Normally, it gets 0.97 inches – meaning the area received just 6% of the precipitation it usually does at that time. April and May were wetter than usual, however.
And it wasn’t just Anchorage. Several Alaskan cities set or matched all-time heat records on Thursday: 89 degrees in Kenai and King Salmon, 88 in Palmer.
Then there’s the smoke. Crews have been battling wildfires across the state, and on Monday authorities issued an air quality advisory for south-central Alaska.
With the hot, dry conditions and limited firefighting resources, the Alaska State Fire Marshal’s Office suspended sale and use of fireworks in many areas.
Concerns about air quality spurred officials of the annual Mount Marathon race in Seward to allow runners to defer their entries until next year, Alaska Public Media reported. The race, more than 3 miles up and down a mountain, still took place amid the heat and smoke, but a few of the top-flight runners opted not to run.
Alaskans have headed outdoors to enjoy the unusually warm temperatures.
“No, this is not average, this is wonderful. This is over average. We don’t have temperatures like this,” resident Myrtle McLaughlin told Alaska Public Media, as she enjoyed the weather at Anchorage’s Goose Lake. “I’ve been here since 1978 and this is probably the best.”
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