After long, cold winter, Interior summer heat begins with near-record temperatures, flooding

A photo of the flooded Salcha River in Interior Alaska looking south from the Salcha River bridge on May 11, 2020. The National Weather Service predicts water levels will remain high through the week. (Photo from National Weather Service Alaska)

Fairbanks recorded a high temperature of 82 degrees Sunday. The official reading at the airport was just two degrees shy of the daily record of 84 degrees, set on May 10, 1995.

The near-record heat, combined with low relative humidity, winds and dead grasses and vegetation, are making for dangerous wildfire conditions. 

It’s also rapidly melting off this past season’s above-normal snowpack from higher elevations, and that’s swelling rivers across the region. Flood watches are in effect for some Central and Eastern Interior rivers, where in some cases high water is causing flooding in low-lying areas, and preventing boats from getting under bridges.  

RELATED: Record-breaking temperatures across Southeast Alaska raise fire risk

High water on Dietrich River has closed the Dalton Highway at Mile 206.

The National Weather Service declared green-up Sunday in Fairbanks. The subjective determination is based on observation of tree buds opening on the Chena Ridge, as viewed from the weather service headquarters on the University of Alaska Fairbanks West Ridge.

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