Where is summer?

A cooler than average start to summer leaves many Alaskans wondering if summer will ever arrive, but there is some good news in the forecast.
Chief Meteorologist Melissa Frey explains why temperatures will warm this weekend.
Published: Jun. 14, 2023 at 11:08 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Where is summer? That’s the question I’ve been asked at least 100 times — just this week alone.

The calendar says it’s mid-June, the snow is almost melted off the Anchorage peaks, salmon are in the creeks, and we’re seeing well over 19 hours of daylight — but what we’re not seeing are 70-degree days and clear blue skies.

But should we be?

The average high temperature for June 14 is 63°. Wednesday, we hit a high of 58°. While that is 5° below normal, it’s also 9° below last year on June 14 — our most recent memory of what summer “should” be like.

Normal weather conditions for June 14th in Anchorage.
Normal weather conditions for June 14th in Anchorage.(Melissa Frey)

Last year’s start to summer was the farthest from normal we’ve ever seen — 2022 was the hottest start to a June on record. The first five days of the month were in the 70s, which had never happened before. The average temperature from June 1 to June 14 last year was 60.2°, more than 6° above normal. This puts our current average temperature, which is 2.3° below normal, into better perspective.

So yes, last year on this date it was 67° and the year before it was 68°. In fact, we haven’t seen high temperatures in the 50s on this day in more than a decade, but June 2023 is still closer to “normal” than what our recent history has presented.

But what about the rain? Has this been a wet start to summer?

This June we have received 0.45 inches of rain. That’s the most we’ve seen for the start to a June month in the last four years, but it is only 0.07″ more than the climatological normal.

For those still hoping it would be warmer and drier — here’s the good news. The very stagnant trough in the upper levels of the atmosphere that have been keeping us under a conveyer belt of clouds, rain, and cooler air is about to shut down — at least temporarily.

An area of low pressure will still ride the jet stream into the northern Gulf Coast Thursday, bringing clouds to Southcentral Alaska and rain to the coastal areas, but from there, it’s headed east. At the same time, we’ll see a ridge forming over western Alaska. This will bring in warmer air and will block any other storms from moving in for several days — something we’ve only seen a few times this season.

A pattern change in the upper levels of the atmosphere will bring warmer conditions to...
A pattern change in the upper levels of the atmosphere will bring warmer conditions to Southcentral this weekend.(Melissa Frey)

For Anchorage, this will mean temperatures returning to the 60s starting Friday, and to the mid-60s by Sunday.

This weekend’s forecast is the short-term good news if you’ve been waiting for more sunshine and more heat. The long-term good news is our temperatures don’t typically peak in Anchorage until July and with El Nino conditions kicking in, the seasonal outlook for the rest of summer is trending warmer and drier than normal.

For those who prefer cooler and wetter days, enjoy tomorrow while it lasts.