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Fairbanks poised to shatter century-old record of days over 80 degrees

Laurel Andrews
A hot, dry summer contributed to the Stuart Creek wildfire this summer in Interior Alaska. Lara Poirrier, Northern Source Images

Fairbanks is poised this week to break its near-century-old record of days over 80 degrees.

The Interior city is “coming close” to a new record, said lead forecaster Bob Fischer with the National Weather Service in Fairbanks. So far this summer, Fairbanksans have sweated through 29 days above 80 degrees. One more will tie the record set in 1915, and two hot days will push Fairbanks to a record. This from a town that routinely shivers through bone-chilling cold of minus-30 or chillier each winter.

The record of 30 days above 80 degrees was first set in 1915 and tied in 1923 and 2004. But no summer has surpassed the nearly 100-year-old record.

“It does not look like it’s going to get to 80 today,” Fischer said Tuesday morning.  However, by Wednesday temperatures are expected to heat up again and continue to bake Interior the rest of the week.

“There’s a good likelihood that the record will be tied or broken,” Fischer said, but “it probably won’t happen today.”

Alaska’s hot summer – from the North Slope to Fairbanks to Southeast -- comes after a relatively cool spring with below-average temperatures holding sway until mid-May.

Fairbanks didn’t see a 60-degree day until May 20. A week later, the Interior city had hit 80 degrees and was well on its way to a sultry summer. “We went from cool to hot with not much of a transition,” Fischer said.

Tropical heat is fine for some, but Fischer himself is “waiting for hockey season to start. It’s not good weather to sleep,” he said.

Earlier this week, on July 28, Fairbanks hit 88 degrees and the temperature had only cooled to 79 degrees by 11 p.m. A cloud moved in that night, acting as an insulating blanket over the Interior community.

Contact Laurel Andrews at laurel(at)alaskadispatch.com