Feb. 10—Temperatures around or above freezing were expected across Southcentral Alaska through the middle of the week — slightly above average for this time of year and a sharp departure from recent cold.
The higher temperatures forecast through at least Wednesday were being driven by surges of warmer air coming up from the Pacific Ocean and the gradually lengthening periods of daylight, said Alan Shriver, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Anchorage office.
"We're just getting to a point where the sun angle is getting high enough that we're starting to see a noticeable effect" on the temperatures, particularly during the middle of the afternoon when there's less cloud cover, Shriver said.
Saturday's high temperature in Anchorage on Saturday was 41.
Temperatures ranging from mid-20s to mid-30s were expected across much of the region, including Anchorage and the Mat-Su. They were expected to cool off slightly near the end of the week, Shriver said.
No significant precipitation was in the forecast for the week, though less than an inch of a mix between rain and snow was forecast for Saturday night into Sunday in Anchorage, he said.
When asked how the rising temperatures could impact snow loads on roofs, which have been a major concern this winter amid record snowfall totals, Shriver said he expected to see some minor melting this week.
"I think what's likely to happen is what we've seen with other past warm-ups in the middle of winter where it may kind of condense the snow down a little bit, but isn't going to really start melting it off too much."
Anchorage has gained about 2 hours of daylight since the winter solstice.
The somewhat unseasonably high temperatures are a stark contrast from a prolonged cold snap through late January that plummeted Anchorage's daily temperatures to below zero degrees Fahrenheit for days.
That contrast is making the current weather feel particularly mild, Shriver said.
"Being exposed to temperatures that are 10, 20 degrees below 0 for a whole week or so, and then having it warm up to the 30s —it's going to have an effect in terms of how warm that feels," he said.