Baked Alaska: Heat wave sees northern state record all-time highs
People swim and sunbathe at Goose Lake in Anchorage, Alaska, on June 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Rachel D'Oro)
Rachel D'Oro, The Associated Press
Published Wednesday, June 19, 2013 3:03PM EDT
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- A heat wave hitting Alaska may not rival the blazing heat of Phoenix or Las Vegas, but to residents of the northernmost U.S. state, the days of hot weather feel like a stifling oven -- or a tropical paradise.
With temperatures topping 26 degrees Celsius in Anchorage, and higher in other parts of the state, people have been sweltering in a place where few homes have air conditioning.
They're sunbathing and swimming at local lakes, hosing down their dogs and cleaning out supplies of fans in at least one local hardware store. Mid-June normally brings high temperatures in the 16-20 C range in Anchorage, and just a month ago, it was still snowing.
The weather feels like anywhere but Alaska to 18-year-old Jordan Rollison, who was sunbathing with three friends and several hundred others lolling at the beach of Anchorage's Goose Lake.
"I love it, I love it," Rollison said. "I've never seen a summer like this, ever."
Some people aren't so thrilled, complaining that it's just too hot.
"It's almost unbearable to me," said Lorraine Roehl, who has lived in Anchorage for two years after moving here from the community of Sand Point in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. "I don't like being hot. I'm used to cool ocean breeze."
All-time highs were recorded, including 35.5 C on Monday about 130 kilometres to the north in the small community of Talkeetna, purported to be the inspiration for the town in the TV series, "Northern Exposure" and the last stop for climbers heading to Mount McKinley, North America's tallest mountain.
One unofficial reading taken at a lodge near Talkeetna even measured 36.6 C, which would tie the highest undisputed temperature recorded in Alaska.
That record was set in 1969, according to Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the online forecasting service Weather Underground.
"This is the hottest heat wave in Alaska since '69," he said. "You're way, way from normal."