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Alaska hit 70 degrees the earliest ever, and more record highs are expected

Posted at 6:04 PM, Mar 29, 2019

Much of the country will see a dive in temperatures this weekend, but Alaska continues to bake with record highs.

Parts of the state have had their earliest 70-degree readings on record. Klawock, a town in southeastern Alaska, reached 70 F on March 19 -- the earliest any spot in the state has hit that high.

More records are expected to be broken this weekend, with temperatures soaring as much as 50 degrees above normal in the fastest-warming state .

Meanwhile, Northeastern cities such as Boston are still awaiting a 70-degree day more than a week after spring officially began.

Anchorage sees no measurable snow in March

Since the beginning of the month, Alaska has seen 55 tied or broken record daily highs through March 23, according to National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration.

On Saturday, Anchorage is expecting a high of 46 F, which will be warmer than many places in the Plains, stretching as far south as Oklahoma.

Anchorage hit 48 F on Monday, tying a previous record set in 1970.

Alaska's most populous city also has had no measurable snow in March for the second time on record.

Fairbanks is no different. Until this week, the city had never had consecutive days in March when temperatures stayed above freezing. On Monday and Tuesday mornings, the temps didn't dip below 34 F.

According to Alaska-based climatologist Brian Brettschneider, "the earliest date for back-to-back above freezing low temperatures was April 15-16, 1978."

Kotzebue, north of the Arctic Circle, set or tied the daily record high every day this week as of Thursday, with temperatures just above freezing.

The town also set or tied a record-high minimum temperature nine times this month.

State considered ground zero of climate change

The warming trend in Alaska is nothing new, however.

March will be the 29th month since January 2013 to rank in the warmest 10% since 1925, while only one month -- April 2013 -- in this time period is in the coldest 10%.

Such comfy temperatures and an early spring may seem like a good thing for Alaskans, but they're far from it. The effects of climate change are affecting Alaska faster than most places, with many climatologists considering it to be ground zero in the warming world.

Coping with the challenges of this changing landscape has become a harsh reality for residents of our northernmost state.