An image at the National Weather Service website notes Juneau and Yakutat set record-high temperatures on Tuesday. Temperatures in Southeast Alaska have generally been increasing in recent years, although there is wide variety to the degree individual communities are affected. (National Weather Service)

An image at the National Weather Service website notes Juneau and Yakutat set record-high temperatures on Tuesday. Temperatures in Southeast Alaska have generally been increasing in recent years, although there is wide variety to the degree individual communities are affected. (National Weather Service)

Record heat wave hits Juneau

New highs set Tuesday and Wednesday — and Thursday may be hotter; cooler weather expected this weekend

Joan Rosos knows warm weather well from her homeland Philippines and years of working on cruise ships visiting tropical ports — and Juneau’s current heat wave that saw record temperatures Tuesday and Wednesday definitely qualifies.

Rosos, taking a break from her duties aboard the Noordam by stopping for ice cream in Marine Park with two co-workers, said there haven’t been a lot of days hovering around 80 degrees during her port stops the past three summers in Juneau.

“It definitely feels hot,” she said.

A heat wave that hit Juneau during the second half of May topped out with record highs of 78 degrees at Juneau Airport on Tuesday and 79 degrees on Wednesday, topping previous records of 76 degrees set in 1982 and 78 degrees set in 1958, respectively, according to the National Weather Service in Juneau.

Thursday’s forecast calls for a high temperature of 83 degrees, with the current record for the date being 82 degrees in 1946, “so we have another potential record day,” said Grant Smith, a meteorologist for the weather service.

Yakutat also set a record on Tuesday at 74 degrees, far exceeding the previous high of 67 degrees in 1964.

An image at the National Weather Service website notes Juneau and Yakutat set record-high temperatures on Tuesday. Temperatures in Southeast Alaska have generally been increasing in recent years, although there is wide variety to the degree individual communities are affected. (National Weather Service)

An image at the National Weather Service website notes Juneau and Yakutat set record-high temperatures on Tuesday. Temperatures in Southeast Alaska have generally been increasing in recent years, although there is wide variety to the degree individual communities are affected. (National Weather Service)

The record-high days are part of a longer-term trend during the second half of May – and, indeed, in the forecast for this summer and a general long-term climate trend, said Jon Suk, another meteorologist at the Juneau Weather Service office.

“The month started off cool, but then ended up warming up quite a bit,” he said. “We really saw that dry spell carrying on in the second half of the month. We’re going to be seeing that continue on through (early) June.”

Cooler temperatures should arrive in Southeast Alaska by Friday and reach Juneau by the weekend, Suk said.

“What they’re showing is we’re not going to be locked into a long, dry, hot pattern,” he said.

Looking ahead to the long-range summer forecast, which relies on climate rather than weather data, it appears Juneau residents and visitors can still expect more relative heat, Suk said.

“What we’ve been seeing from them is generally a trend that’s putting us at a chance for warmer conditions,” he said. “Precipitation-wise they’re actually keeping us at a slightly increased chance for above-normal precipitation as well.”

The temperature increases and weather patterns aren’t consistent throughout Southeast Alaska, especially when examining month-to-month patterns, with Ketchikan seeing significantly higher precipitation than normal, while Sitka “is so close to the Gulf they’re getting socked in with marine air, and it gets overcast and cloudy, and stays cooler the whole day,” Suk said.

Juneau and other locales experiencing heat waves and dry conditions aren’t merely reason to relish a suntan — or curse a sunburn. The weather service has issued fire danger alerts for much of the region, including an elevated red-flag alert for the Haines region.

This photo shows a sun-soaked view from Point Louisa on Tuesday. According to the National Weather Service, Juneau’s sunny streak, and an accompanying heatwave, is expected to last until this weekend. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

This photo shows a sun-soaked view from Point Louisa on Tuesday. According to the National Weather Service, Juneau’s sunny streak, and an accompanying heatwave, is expected to last until this weekend. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

“Fine fuels are dry and there is a risk of camp fires getting out of control,” the alert for the Juneau region notes. “Winds will remain light, which is a mitigating circumstance working in our favor. All individuals are encouraged to be mindful of the dry and warm conditions during the remainder of this week.”

Contact reporter Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com.

More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of June 26

Here’s what to expect this week.

Aoibhinn Reetz executes her creative vision for her bike during the Douglas Fourth of July Committee’s annual Bicycle Decorating session held at the Douglas Public Library on July 2, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)
All the trimmings: Douglas kids ready for holiday

Streamers, flags and reflectors, all in.

Runners pound up Fish Creek Road towards the ski area during the Eaglecrest Road and Ridge Race on July 2, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)
Up with the sun: runners tackle Eaglecrest

Onward and upward, up the rising road.

t
Police calls for Saturday, July 2, 2022

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Rockets’ red glare illuminates the night sky and spectators during the City and Borough of Juneau’s fireworks display on July 3, 2021. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Rockets’ red glare illuminates the night sky and spectators during the City and Borough of Juneau’s fireworks display on July 3, 2021. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
What you need to know for this fourth of July

Check out the scheduled events here.

Larisa Bishop Boros
This photo available under a Creative Commons license shows a male silver-haired bat captured in Ozark National Scenic Riverways in 2010. A bat found in Douglas tested positive for rabies, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced.
Bat found in Douglas tests positive for rabies

No report of rabies exposure to people, according to Department of Fish and Game.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Friday, July 1, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Road to Majority conference Friday, June 17, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. A rally planned to include Trump is scheduled to happen in Anchorage on July 9.  (AP Photo / Mark Humphrey File)
Trump to rally for Palin, Dunleavy, Tshibaka in Anchorage

Former President Donald Trump plans to attend a rally in Alaska next week.

Most Read