While the eastern half of the lower 48 was generally freezing on Mother’s Day weekend, one area was soaking up the sun and warmth: Alaska.
The Last Frontier enjoyed (presumably) record warmth over the weekend, including an 82-degree reading in the interior Alaskan city of Fairbanks on Sunday. On Saturday, a slew of records were also shattered in the Alaskan panhandle, including the Alaskan state capital of Juneau.
Temps soared into the 70s Saturday setting several new records from #Ketchikan to #Yakutat. As of 4pm Saturday a COOP in Ketchikan near mile post 13N reached 80°! Will there be more record breaking temps today? #akwx .@KRBDRadio .@800KINY .@KTOOpubmedia .@ravenradio .@KHNS_FM pic.twitter.com/4knwwKJT9D
— NWS Juneau (@NWSJuneau) May 10, 2020
Yes: that means Fairbanks hit 82 degrees before Boston, New York City or Chicago have done so so far this spring.
The Alaskan cities of Kotzebue (57 degrees) and Utqiagvik (37 degrees) set new daily records on Sunday, completing a weekend of exceptional warmth across the interior regions of the 49th state.
A big ridge of high pressure anchored over Alaska and western Canada boosted temperatures into the 70s and 80s across much of Alaska this weekend. The same ridge also led to an exceptionally hot day in the northwestern continental United States, including Seattle, Washington, which also set a daily record back on Sunday as well.
That two other big impacts this weekend, first: rapid snowmelt led to flood advisories across the Alaskan interior. Fairbanks hit its first 60, 70 and 80-degree days of the year all within one week, meaning the snow melted extraordinarily quickly.
That could lead to stream, river and creek flooding.
Very warm high temperatures over the next few days will cause a large increase in runoff due to snowmelt. In addition to the Chena River Flood Advisory (see previous Tweet), a Flood Advisory has also been issued for the Salcha River upstream of the Richardson Highway. #akwx pic.twitter.com/Bsq7ssKYBQ
— NWS Fairbanks (@NWSFairbanks) May 8, 2020
The second impact is it led to Fairbanks’ annual ‘greenup’, or the dramatic and sudden appearance of leaves on aspen and birch trees that takes place as a result of Alaska’s short winter. The National Weather Service office in Fairbanks said on Sunday that it had officially taken place this past weekend, right on schedule.
Temperatures are expected to stay warm across the area through Monday, before temperature slide back closer to seasonal averages by Tuesday.
And for more on Utqiagvik’s last sunset of the spring season, click here.