‘Heat dome’ smashes temperature records in Alaska

Alaska may be famous for freezing temperatures and snow-capped mountains – but its biggest city has just smashed heat records as the US state basks under a heatwave.

Anchorage beat its previous all-time record by 3C – a huge margin in meteorological terms.

The city hit 32.2C (90F), easily surpassing the previous record of 29.44C (85F), recorded in 1969.

The average high for the city on Independence Day is 23.8C (75F), and it comes after the city had its wettest May ever.

The US National Weather Service confirmed the record for Anchorage and said 4 July also saw all-time highs in Kenai, King Salmon, and Palmer.

Alaska is having its fifth week of higher-than-normal temperatures as an area of high pressure lingers over much of the state’s south-central area.

ANCHORAGE, AK - JULY 04: People visit a rock outpost at Beluga Point along the Turnagain Arm on July 4, 2019 south of Anchorage, Alaska. Alaska is bracing for record warm temperatures and dry conditions in parts of the state. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Image: Perfect time for a selfie at Beluga Point, south of Anchorage
GIRDWOOD, AK - JULY 04: People hike on the Byron Glacier on July 4, 2019 near Portage Lake in Girdwood, Alaska. Alaska is bracing for record warm temperatures and dry conditions in parts of the state. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Image: People hike on the Byron Glacier near Portage Lake

People have predictably been flocking outside to make the most of the state’s famous natural wonders.

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Forecasters say the “heat dome” will move north over the weekend and next week, possibly exceeding 32.2C (90F) in some areas and threatening more temperature records.

A heat dome is when the atmosphere traps hot ocean air like a lid or cap.

ANCHORAGE, AK - JULY 04: People navigate the Turnagain Arm on paddle boards as vehicles move along the Seward Highway on July 4, 2019 south of Anchorage, Alaska. Alaska is bracing for record warm temperatures and dry conditions in parts of the state. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Image: Paddle boards were a good way to enjoy the sun at the Turnagain Arm

The all-time record for Alaska is 38C (100F) at Fort Yukon in June 1915.

Rick Thoman, from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, said the record highs were both a weather story and indicative of climate change.

“These kinds of extreme weather events become much more likely in a warming world,” he said.

Mr Thorman said high sea temperatures have helped keep Alaska warm, producing the heat dome effect.

“Surface temperatures are above normal everywhere around Alaska.

“The entire Gulf of Alaska, in the Bering Sea, in the Chukchi Sea south of the ice edge, exceptionally warm waters, warmest on record, and of course record-low sea ice extent for this time of year off the north and northwest coasts of the state.”

Source: SKY NEWS

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