Chill out, Anchorage -- it's just a normal cool summer
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Chill out Anchorage
15 Jul 08 – “People are exchanging their flip-flops and shorts for close-toed shoes and fleece more than usual this summer.
“The cool, gloomy weather is almost as hot a topic in town as steep gas prices.
"Really what's happening this year is nothing extraordinary,” said Sam Albanese, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Anchorage.
“Normally, Anchorage has 14 or 15 days in the summer that reach the 70-degree mark, Albanese said.
“This year, there have been two. And the city didn't see 70 at all until July 2. That threshold typically comes in early to mid-June, according to weather records.
“So far this month, the daily high temperature has fallen below the average high for the date more than half the time. In fact, the temperature has missed the mark every day for the past week.
“And in June, temperatures fell below the average high on 24 of 30 days.
“Plants are blooming later and slower because of the low temperatures, said Barbara Miller, senior horticulturist at the Alaska Botanical Garden.
"Some of the later-blooming plants are probably going to have problems," she said. "They're going to run out of summer and their buds will probably be frozen."
“Pat Mulligan, president of the Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers, said the low temperatures are making it harder to grow produce.
"If people in the (fruit growers) club are growing apples that are pushing the envelope to ripen before frost, now the growing season is shorter," he said. "You're talking substantial loss of growing time."
“Judging by the pattern of June weather over nearly two decades, this should've been a warm summer, meteorologist David Vonderheide said.
"Every four to five years we would get a cool June, and then bang -- something has happened to interrupt this little cycle," Vonderheide said.
“He thinks the strong forces of La Nina are the culprit. La Nina, a phenomenon that causes ocean temperatures to dip below average, kicked in this year and resulted in a drop in land temperatures, Albanese said.
“Another cause could be Pacific decadal oscillation, a cyclical period of lower ocean temperatures that comes every 20 to 25 years.
“There's a warm phase and a cold phase of the climate pattern, Vonderheide said.
“Based on the Weather Service's outlook for the rest of the month, people should get used to the cooler temperatures, Vonderheide said.”
See entire article by Monique Newton
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