Less smoke, but staying warm and dry

Air quality advisory remains in effect until 2 p.m. Friday
Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 11:22 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A storm system in the eastern Bering Sea is vying for attention with the strong ridge of high pressure that has dominated the state this week. While not yet fully appreciated, the storm is currently doing three things that are noteworthy.

Much needed — and welcome — rain began falling over the Alaska Peninsula and Southwest Alaska early Friday morning. Since midnight, King Salmon has recorded just over a half inch of rain, with nearly a third of an inch recorded in Dillingham. Additional rain is expected through early Saturday morning, but the strong high pressure system, now centered over the eastern part of the state, will keep the lion’s share of the rain south of Stony River.

What’s left of the rain shield moves east Saturday afternoon, and brings measurable rainfall south of the Sterling Highway through early Sunday morning. The highest amounts of about a half inch are expected along the coast from Homer to Seward.

Secondly, the counterclockwise wind flow around the storm is pushing the smoke from the Lime Complex of fires in a more northerly, and northeasterly direction and away from Southcentral. As a result, air quality conditions will improve tremendously across Southcentral today and this weekend. Fairbanks and the eastern Interior, however, will still have the greatest concentrations of smoke, and thus the poorest air qualities and visibilities, right into the Fourth of July holiday on Monday.

Lastly, while there’s not enough energy to budge it completely out of the way, the storm system does make some progress in breaking down the western side of the high pressure ridge. Enough of a breakdown may have occurred to allow rain chances to return to Southcentral, especially along higher, mountainous terrain for the middle part of next week.

By the way, with the official numbers in the books, June 2022 goes down as the second-warmest June since records began in 1952. The average temperature for the month was 60.1 degrees, falling very, very short of the record 60.5 degrees observed in June 2019.

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