Alaska Gets Baked: Record Heat Has Its Consequences

Yahoo Contributor Network
Alaska Gets Baked: Record Heat Has Its Consequences
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Sunny skies on an Alaskan beach

As unseasonably warm temperatures continue to stall in the triple digits in large parts of the western United States, Yahoo asked residents to share their heat wave experiences. Here's one.

FIRST PERSON | While most of the United States may find temperatures in the mid-80s comfortable, for my town, Sterling, in south central Alaska, it's like being a fish on the fire--literally, because many of the fish-belly white residents have burned badly.

My husband, three boys, and I have enjoyed the sunshine and record-breaking temperatures with a few rare warm-lake swims, but personally we'd love to see more wind and rain, and not just because we're melting and considering shaving our giant Malamute dog.

The extreme heat hitting our state brings high risk for forest fires, especially with the flood of inexperienced campers that ride in with the summer tourist season. The warm weather has also made the climate more enjoyable for the Asian Tiger mosquito.

As an Alaskan, I'm no stranger to the large, slow-flying, night-biters our cool 55- to 60-degree summers often breed, but the warmer-weather, faster-flying Asian variety bite voraciously during the day. Our home on five acres in the backwoods is overrun, and as we aren't used to this variety of bites, we are suffering severe allergic reactions on top of the sunburn. An especially hot summer can also mean an upturn in invasive species, such as ticks from the lower 48 states, plant species that may prove disastrous to the salmon industry, and poisonous spider species that normally cannot survive even if they hitch a ride in freight or on travelers.

It's the dangerous side of a little too much sunshine in the land of the midnight sun that has my family, and many others, flip-flopping between sheer joy for some real sunshine and quiet wishes for more rain.

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