Alaskans Taking Advantage of Record-High Temperatures
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) _ Baked Alaska. The people in the nation’s northernmost city are eating it up.
Barrow, 325 miles north of the Arctic Circle, broke its all-time high temperature record Tuesday, when the mercury hit 79 degrees. The normal high in Barrow in July is just 45, and often it snows during the Fourth of July parade.
Villagers in cutoffs and tank tops flocked with picnic lunches to the shore of the Arctic Ocean, which was littered with floes of broken pack ice.
″There will be a lot of barbecuing going on tonight. Whether it’s caribou or burgers, we just love it,″ said Fran Tate, owner of Pepe’s North of the Border Mexican restaurant.
″I’m sitting here and my clothes are soaked through with sweat. I need to go home and change,″ said National Weather Service forecaster Chuck Evans. Like the Eastern Seaboard, much of Alaska is going through one of its warmest summers ever. A stationary high-pressure ridge, called an omega, in the Gulf of Alaska is keeping skies clear.
In Fairbanks, 500 miles south of the Arctic Ocean in interior Alaska, the mercury Tuesday hit 87, one degree short of the record. Highs in the 90s were forecast for the rest of the week. Anchorage, home to nearly half of Alaska’s population, peaked at 70, four degrees shy of a record.
The weather has been so good, employers are having a hard time getting people to come to work.
″Yeah, the sunny days it seems like they’re all sick,″ said Rob Chaffin, owner of a gas station and car wash in Valdez. ″Normally we require them to wear long-sleeve shirts, but I had to give it up for T-shirts and shorts.″