Juneau is on track to beat record high temperatures going into the weekend and following week as a heatwave rolls through the Southeast. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Juneau is on track to beat record high temperatures going into the weekend and following week as a heatwave rolls through the Southeast. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Sun and potentially record-setting heat are in Juneau’s future

Heatwave goodbye to the clouds.

Time to dig through the closet for those long-forgotten flip flops and tank tops because at least for the next week or so Juneau is looking at some fun in the sun.

For Southeast Alaska as of Thursday, according to Rick Fritch, Meteorologist with the National Weather Service Juneau office, the southern half of the panhandle is battling mostly cloudy overcast conditions, while the northern half is enjoying beautiful clear skies. The southern half will be able to enjoy similar conditions starting tomorrow. Along with mostly clear and sunny skies, there will also be dry weather that’s expected to last on through the weekend.

In addition to no rain and clear skies, temperatures are going to turn exceptionally warm. Thursday daytime highs will be in the low to mid-60s. By tomorrow the Juneau area will be looking at mid-70’s, Saturday upper 70s, and by Sunday upper 70s to low 80s. Fritch said it’s even looking as if these trends might continue into the next work week with temperatures rising even further.

“That’s well above normal for this part of the world at this time of the year. Just to give folks an idea of how anomalous that might be, the record-high temperatures for this time of the year in the Juneau area, dating back all the way to 1913, ranged anywhere from 85 to 87 degrees. So, we have the potential to be breaking some all-time record-high temperatures, not so much this weekend but going into next week if trends continue going the way they are,” Fritch said.

Thursday of next week might be the point when the warm weather streak ends. Right now, Frtich said there’s no guarantee of rain but rather the potential for rain by the end of next week.

“By the time we finally get to Thursday of next week, there’s the potential for some rain during the daylight hours. “Between now and then, however, looks like nothing but net!” Fritch said.

Fritch also added that along with great weather comes great responsibility; with these warm summer days and dry temperatures, folks will be eager to get out to campgrounds, Forest Service cabins or even beaches along some of the islands, which means it’s especially important to be mindful of campfires so they remain contained and well under control. Fritch said that even though Juneau has had its fair share of recent rain and for the most part the forest floor is still damp, things such as pine needles and twigs can dry out in a matter of days, quickly becoming potential fuel for wildfires.

Additionally, Fritch reminded people primarily in the Juneau area who live in or have interests in the Mendenhall Valley area, that this is the time of the year when Suicide Basin will often release. Although they weather service is closely watching via cameras as the basin continues to fill, they’re also watching the lake levels as they continue to not rise.

“The big glacial lake outburst event is still before us and sometimes in the past years that has been really kind of epic and has threatened or even damaged riverfront property on Mendenhall River, as well as inundated the Sketers Cabin Campground,” Fritch said. “In other years, we had the release, everybody was prepared, maybe even people sandbagged, but it wasn’t as dramatic as other years. So, it’s really hard to forecast. Actually, I would say impossible to forecast, just exactly how high the river’s going to go, but eventually this summer there will be a release by Suicide Basin, it’s just a question of how bad it’s going to be.”

Lastly, and perhaps the most important of Fritch’s warnings?

“The other thing people need to be aware of is if you don’t have them or you can’t find them, this is probably an excellent weekend to go out and get a new pair of sunglasses.”

Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at jonson.kuhn@juneauempire.com.

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