ANCHORAGE, Alaska — While much of the nation shivers in bone-aching cold, people in Alaska’s largest city are basking in warmer weather, jogging in short sleeves, ice-skating in T-shirts or walking dogs while just lightly bundled up.
Anchorage saw an official high of 44 degrees Tuesday, tying the record set in 1981 and 2011. That was warm enough for Patricia Bierer, who was visiting Alaska this winter from Montana.
“I am from the Bitterroot Valley in Montana, and it’s colder there today than it is here in Alaska,” said Bierer, dressed in a pink parka as she strolled with family members around Anchorage’s Westchester Lagoon. “And my children that are there are jealous because I’ve got 40-degree temperatures here.”
National Weather Service meteorologist Michael Kurtz said areas of high and low pressure are working together to push tropical air to the north. But temperatures are expected to begin dropping Tuesday night, and below freezing by Wednesday. That freeze-thaw vacillation should bring slick conditions to the area.
“I jokingly refer to it as freezy, skid stuff,” Kurtz said.
It comes as the weather service issued wind chill advisories and freeze warnings covering a vast area, from South Texas to Canada and from Montana to Maine.
A large swath of the U.S. is freezing under Alaska-like weather, but parts of the nation’s northernmost state itself are basking in balmy conditions. Tuesday’s official temperature hit a record 45 degrees in Anchorage. (Jan. 2)
The unseasonable temperatures brought Anchorage resident Cassandra Sullivan out to walk her pit bull Athena along downtown streets. She said it helped jolt her out of the winter blues.
“For some reason, with the weather out today as it is and just the breeze and the warm air, it kind of brings me out of it,” she said.
Ashley Durst, walking her dog at the downtown lagoon during her lunch break, admitted that the warmer weather was a little unusual because it can be minus-30 this time of the year.
But she doesn’t mind that others are feeling that bite instead.
“I just think maybe it’s time they get their little taste of it for a while,” she said with a smile.