New high temperature records set in Alaska (again) as heat wave is set to relinquish grip

By Brett Rathbun,
July 11, 2019,

The end of the heat wave that has shattered records across Alaska is finally in sight.

In the far western portion of the state, the heat sent the mercury to an all-time record high in the city of Bethel. A temperature of 91 F was recorded on Monday, which would surpass the previous all-time record of 90 set on June 17, 1926. However, a technical problem with a weather station at the Bethel airport has left meteorologists with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Anchorage unwilling to declare a record has been set.

Cynthia Kobold, a meteorologist with the NWS, told AccuWeather in a phone interview that officials were replacing the faulty weather station and that while it was certainly warm in Bethel on Monday, they aren’t confident enough in the data collected to confirm an official record has been broken. Records in Bethel date back to 1923.

While the temperature wasn’t nearly as high as the Fourth of July in Anchorage when the temperature hit 90, the city did end up rewriting the record books for July 8. A new daily record of 85 F was set, surpassing the previous record of 84 from 2003. King Salmon, located in a remote southwestern portion of the state, set a record daily high of 83, breaking the 2004 record of 82. The city then tied their record for July 9 of 82. This marked the sixth consecutive day King Salmon tied or set a new daily high temperature record.

The hot and dry weather, which began just prior to the Fourth of July, will finally ease its grip later this week as cooler air returns.

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This prolonged stretch of above-normal heat has led to the spread of ongoing wildfires across parts of central and southern Alaska. Residents have been impacted with smoky air and poor air quality for multiple days.

With many residents without air conditioning, this produced an uncomfortable stretch of weather. Other residents have had to close windows to keep out the smoky air, which in turn did nothing more than raise the temperature inside their homes.

The hot weather forced some residents to head to nearby lakes to cool down.

Lucy Davisdon, a resident of Alaska, took her grandchildren to a beach at Goose Lake to help get a break from the heat last week, The Associated Press reported.

She purchased a portable air conditioner six years ago at a garage sale and it has been working non-stop to help cool her home. However, the temperature inside of her home has not been able to drop below 82 degrees.

“If it wasn’t so expensive, I’d buy one of those big outdoor pools,” she said.