Mill Bay - Weather records

A panoramic view from Mill Bay Beach on May 3, 2014. (Derek Clarkston photo)

The brilliant sunshine and long daylight hours brought more than joy over the weekend for Kodiak. An 11-year weather record was obliterated on Friday afternoon when temperatures peaked at 66 degrees and temperature records fell all across Alaska.

“There are at least 10 records broken,” said Christian Cassell, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Anchorage.

Locally, Friday’s early heat surge broke a decade-old record by a significant margin.

“We broke it,” said Rich Courtney, a meteorological technician with NWS. “The max today (May 2) was 66 at 2:30 ADT. The high for May 2 was 59 in 2003, 11 years ago.”

“Typically what happens is if we’ve got a ridge out to the west it forces a warm westerly wind across the island where it picks up on the heat and the blows down upon the instruments at the airport and the town,” he added.

A ridge to the west forces winds to blow down off the mountains, which — similar to the desert-like areas west of the Cascades and the Rockies — compels warmer air to come through town. “Once you get the sea breeze to kick in it usually lowers the temperature because of the coolness of the water. The only other things that would lower it keep it down would be a layer of fog building up,” said Courtney.

Locally, when winds come from the northwest, warmer and drier conditions prevail — but with limits here on Kodiak. “Higher mountains scrub the moisture off,” said Ray Miller, a meteorological technician at NWS. “As the air comes down the mountain it heats and dries. As soon as it gets too warm — warmer than the water — then the winds switch around we get what they call a sea breeze. Those are typically from the east or the northeast for up here in Kodiak. That cools us right off.”

Weathermen expect rain to hit Kodiak again this afternoon and stick around till Thursday. “It looks like rain moves in Monday afternoon just a little after 4 p.m. So there you go — the party’s over. Enjoy the day! It’s mostly rainy till Thursday afternoon. Then it looks good again. We need a little rain to knock that dust down,” Miller added.

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