Alaska heatwave sees record-high temperatures

Record high temperatures have hit Alaska’s largest city and two other locations in the northern US state.

The national weather service said Anchorage on Independence Day on Thursday afternoon reached 32.22C (90F).

The previous record for Anchorage was 29.44C (85F) on 14 June 1969, Meteorologist Bob Clay said.

Kenai and King Salmon also reached new temperature highs of 31.67C (89F).

Palmer matched its record high at 31.67C.

Mr Clay said a high ridge of pressure over much of south central Alaska was strengthening and responsible for the record temperatures.

The national weather service said the heatwave is set to continue.

It said: “Near-record breaking temperatures will remain a possibility through the weekend as hot and dry conditions persist across south central and southwest Alaska.”

Last month was the warmest June on record, with an average temperature of 15.8C, some 5.3C above average.

As many as 120 wildfires have broken out in south central Alaska.

Atmospheric science professor Cliff Mass, of the University of Washington, said: “Although there are no wildfires in the Pacific Northwest right now, there are many large fires burning over Alaska producing lots of smoke.

“Some of this smoke has extended southward over the Pacific Northwest.”

Rick Thoman of the Alaska centre for climate assessment and policy said the high temperatures were both a weather story and a climate story as extreme weather events become much more likely in a warming world.

In winter in Alaska, temperatures can plunge as low as -45.6C (-50F).

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