Last Thursday was the first day in a four-day run for record high temperatures in Kodiak. The days from the 17th to the 20th of February featured temperatures just shy of the 50s, and Monday, Tuesday, and likely Wednesday were unusually warm if not record breaking.
Each high temperature record was only broken by a degree, with new highs set in the upper 40s. Records over those four days were set as far back as the 1940s.
Pam Szatanek is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Anchorage. She says the warm weather pattern is a mix of tropical air and warm downslope winds.
“We’re getting modified tropical air that has been coming towards Kodiak. And we’re actually expecting more of that later on this week. We’ve been seeing a trend of it this past winter,” Szatanek said.
Those tropical weather patterns track with heavy rain that arrived Wednesday on Kodiak Island. That rainfall is slated to continue and intensify as a storm system from Hawaii makes its way up to Southwest Alaska. El Nino conditions- seasonally warm seas- have also made for a more dramatic weather environment.
Weather was largely overcast in Kodiak when these records were set. According to National Weather Service meteorologist Michael Kutz, there is a real possibility that more records will be broken in the coming days, even as the weather gets more rainy.
“The chances are already there in a lot of different ways. Again, it depends on how much precipitation we get, which tends to moderate or change the ability of the atmosphere- they warm up. And next few days looking at… pretty fair amount of rain coming in, as well as gusty winds,” Kutz said.
These are the latest events in a record winter that featured the coldest February on record in Kodiak, and the state record highest December temperature. Kutz says the weather patterns are unusual but not indicative of any sort of trend.
“What we’re looking at is, getting away from the individual days, and blending them all together into a trend month-wise, year-wise, decade-wise. And those are the ones that we look at, in particular when we’re dealing with looking at global warming or any of that other stuff that goes on,” Kutz said.
In the meantime, Kodiak Island can expect heavy and warm pineapple express weather from Hawaii to push the temperature up as the rain comes down.