Hot and Dry Summer for Much of Alaska
Much of Alaska has experienced a warm and dry summer so far, thanks to persistent high pressure over the eastern interior and Yukon Territory. Except for the Aleutian Islands, average temperatures for June were 2° to 10°F warmer than normal. The strongest departures were for the western Brooks Range and the eastern Tanana Flats. Fairbanks had the warmest June in recent decades of 66.8°F, which ranks second warmest on record behind 1913. Along with the warmth was dry conditions for the eastern Interior and southeastern panhandle where stations reported less than 25% of the normal monthly precipitation.
June Temperature Departure June Precipitation Departure
click to enlarge click to enlarge
So far, July has tended toward more of the same as what was seen in June. Temperatures across the area have averaged above normal for this time of year with highs in the mid 70's to mid 80's. Fairbanks has seen only 0.06 in of precipitation, 3% of normal for this time in July, 8% of normal has fallen in Anchorage, and only 11% of normal in Juneau.
Temperatures Statistics 1 June - 18 July, 2004 Record-breaking temperatures have been numerous this summer, most notably along the southern and southeast coast. Over the 6-week period from 1 June to 18 July, 2004, Juneau reported 9 days of record setting high temperatures, 7 of them coming in a streak of consecutive days at 84°F and higher. The Annette Island airport reported a high temperature of 93°F on June 19th which sets a new all-time high for this location. The previous record of 90°F occurred on August 8th, 1960.

Not only record high maximum, but record high minimum temperatures have occurred. Sitka has reported 15 days with record minimum temperatures thus far during June and July.

Many locations state-wide have seen temperatures at or above 80°F. While most of these have occurred in the Interior, the southern parts of the state have also seen their share of hot days.
Location
New Record High Maxima
New Record High Minima
Days with High 80°F or Above
Eagle
5
0
20
Northway
7
3
13
Fairbanks
0
2
17
Anchorage
2
2
3
Valdez
7
7
1
Yakutat
2
3
1
Haines
3
2
8
Sitka
3
15
2
Juneau
9
0
9
Petersburg
7
9
6
Port Alexander
4
5
2
Ketchikan
2
4
3
Annette
5
7
4
Thunderstorms have been numerous throughout the state this summer and have helped make for a very active wildfire season, along with the warm and dry conditions. On the 14th of June, 8,589 lightning strikes were recorded throughout the state and one month later on July 15th, over 9,000 strikes were recorded. These represent two of the largest single-day outbreaks in the state.

Preliminary data courtesy of the National Weather Service.
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