Some of the warmest weather of the year arrived in Alaska over the weekend and will continue through the first part of the week.
This heat challenged records in Fairbanks and Anchorage over the weekend, Alaska's two most populated cities. The high in Fairbanks on Sunday reached 88 degrees, falling just one degree shy of their daily record.
Temperatures are forecast to continue to challenge, and possibly break, records Monday and Tuesday across parts of interior Alaska.
These record-challenging temperatures are due to a strong upper-level ridge that built over central Alaska over the past weekend.
This ridge will hold its ground through the first part of the week, allowing for these above-normal temperatures to continue.
Highs will climb into the upper 80s lower 90s through Wednesday with the highest temperatures being focused in Southwest Alaska. Meanwhile, cold ocean waters will limit temperatures along the coast to the mid-50s.
This warm air will start to make up for the chilly spring that Alaska has seen this year. April was a particularly cold month, especially for the city of Fairbanks. In April, there was only one day where the city saw temperatures that were above normal. When all was said and done, the month of April averaged 14 degrees below normal in Fairbanks.
In addition to the heat, this strong ridge is also rising the risk of wildfire across the state. According to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center, there are currently 26 active wildfires across the state. With the ridge not forecast to move much over the next few days, the wildfire threat will persist.
Temperatures will start to ease a bit during the second half of the week as the ridge of high pressure begins to break down and shift to the east.
Story by AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Brian Lada.