It’ll take sustained rain to pull Anchorage out of its severe drought, says climatologist

A abeach with people playing in the sand and the water
Anchorage residents head to Goose Lake to cool off on Sunday, July 3, 2022. (Matt Faubion/Alaska Public Media)

Anchorage has been especially dry lately. The city just had its third driest June on record, followed by a spring and early summer that saw hardly any rain.

“If you actually look at the last two, three and four months — those are all the driest on record,” said Brian Brettschneider, a climate scientist with the National Weather Service in Anchorage. “So if you look at, say, mid-March through now almost mid-July … we’ve had less than three quarters of an inch of precipitation.”

Brettschneider said this is by far the driest stretch ever recorded in Anchorage. The city is experiencing severe drought conditions.

Last week’s rain brought just about one-sixth of an inch of water. It was technically the rainiest day this year, but made no real difference in the drought status. Brettschneider said the Anchorage area will need a sustained period of precipitation to turn the drought situation around.

Alaska is approaching the time of year when it generally rains more. And Brettschneider said the forecast has good news for those battling fires statewide.

“The seven-day forecast issued by the National Weather Service and the forecast out to two weeks, issued by the Climate Prediction Center, all point toward a cooler and wetter forecast. And that is just all around good for fires.”

The Anchorage forecast shows cloudy skies and likely rain Thursday and through the weekend.

Michael Fanelli reported on economics and hosted the statewide morning news at Alaska Public Media. 

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