Smoke and haze start the week

Rain chances the highest over the mountains; Hot & dry conditions return mid-week
Smoke from a large outbreak of fires in Southwest Alaska whitened the skies over the eastern half of the state on Sunday. Joe delivers the forecast for the week
Published: Jun. 12, 2022 at 9:39 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire!” The compelling part, though, is that the fires responsible for filtering out the sun and reducing visibilities as low as five miles in Anchorage begin nearly 300 miles to the west. That includes one of the continent’s largest mountain ranges standing in between as well!

Late yesterday, winds shifted to the southwest over the western half of the state, which then pushed all of the smoke rising from the fires north and east throughout the day on Sunday. Thick smoke was seen on state and FAA webcams in the Fairbanks area with visibilities at the airport reported as low as two miles. The state’s Division of Air Quality Sunday morning issued “Air Quality Advisories” for much of Southwest, the central Interior, and all of Southcentral (including Fairbanks and Anchorage) until Tuesday afternoon alerting those with respiratory illnesses, and sensitivities that the smoke may cause additional breathing problems, and to be cautious the next couple of days.

The smoky skies didn’t stop temperatures from reaching forecast highs in the middle 60s across the Anchorage area Sunday afternoon. Like Saturday night, the smoke will cause an extra red sunset and moonrise tonight, along with similar conditions for sunrise and moonset on Monday. Smoke will linger over Southcentral into Monday afternoon, blending with the fair weather clouds that develop with the heating of the day, and again filtering out the sun. Temperatures will be a couple degrees warmer than Sunday, in the middle and upper 60s (normal is 63 degrees, by the way). Unfortunately, the only chances of rain, which will be slight at best, are mainly confined to the higher elevations of the Chugach and Alaska Ranges into Tuesday. This will help to mix and erode out the smoke over the region, but 90 percent of the valleys and coastal plain will stay (painfully) dry.

More not so good news, the “heat ridge” that has been confined over the Interior the past week or so, looks to move back into Southcentral mid-week. This will bring much warmer (temps near or into the low 70s), and even drier conditions through Friday, thus increasing the fire danger over the region once again.

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