The National Weather Service in Alaska warned that temperatures in parts of the state could break records on Thursday. And sure enough, the city of Anchorage, Alaska, had the highest recorded temperature ever, which happened that same evening.
The NWS expected 90 degrees to be reached at 5 p.m. Anchorage time “for the first time on record” on July 4, the agency said in a tweet.
At 90, the heat would be the beat the previous record by more than five degrees back in June 1969.
— NWS Anchorage (@NWSAnchorage) July 5, 2019
Per those predictions, Anchorage did, in fact, reach the 90-degree mark, Alternet reported.
“This isn’t just breaking a record — it’s obliterating a record that’s stood for more than half a century,” Bill McKibben, an environmentalist, tweeted out.
The high temperatures, occurring on Independence Day, had some consequences for revelers of the holiday. Fireworks that were planned had to be canceled out of fears that they could have sparked wildfires.
Lest anyone believe it to be a fluke, the high temperatures are set to continue on throughout the weekend. The previous record of 85 degrees, now at second all-time, could be sent further down the rankings list.
“It’s entirely possible that the warmest temperature ever recorded in Anchorage could be exceeded three to five days in a row,” Brian Brettschneider, a University of Alaska Fairbanks climate researcher, told NBC News. “That’s the definition of unusual.”
A massive heat dome has been deemed responsible for the rise in temperatures. It’s expected to stay over the region until Monday.
In an interview with the Associated Press in 2011, Eli Jacks, a meteorologist with NWS, explained exactly what a heat dome entailed. “When a high pressure system develops in the upper atmosphere, the air below it sinks and compresses because there’s more weight on top, causing temperatures in the lower atmosphere to heat up,” Jacks said.