Climate and Average Weather Year Round in Anchorage Alaska, United States
In Anchorage, the summers are cool and mostly cloudy and the winters are long, freezing, snowy, and partly cloudy. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 13°F to 68°F and is rarely below -8°F or above 75°F.
Based on the tourism score, the best time of year to visit Anchorage for warm-weather activities is from late June to early August.
Climate in Anchorage
The warm season lasts for 3.7 months, from May 19 to September 11, with an average daily high temperature above 59°F. The hottest month of the year in Anchorage is July, with an average high of 67°F and low of 55°F.
The cold season lasts for 4.0 months, from November 6 to March 5, with an average daily high temperature below 32°F. The coldest month of the year in Anchorage is January, with an average low of 13°F and high of 24°F.
Average High and Low Temperature in Anchorage
The figure below shows you a compact characterization of the entire year of hourly average temperatures. The horizontal axis is the day of the year, the vertical axis is the hour of the day, and the color is the average temperature for that hour and day.
Average Hourly Temperature in Anchorage
frigid 15°F freezing 32°F very cold 45°F cold 55°F cool 65°F comfortable 75°F warm 85°F hot 95°F sweltering
In Anchorage, the average percentage of the sky covered by clouds experiences mild seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The clearer part of the year in Anchorage begins around February 14 and lasts for 2.2 months, ending around April 21.
The clearest month of the year in Anchorage is March, during which on average the sky is clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 47% of the time.
The cloudier part of the year begins around April 21 and lasts for 9.8 months, ending around February 14.
The cloudiest month of the year in Anchorage is December, during which on average the sky is overcast or mostly cloudy 61% of the time.
Cloud Cover Categories in Anchorage
0% clear 20% mostly clear 40% partly cloudy 60% mostly cloudy 80% overcast 100%
A wet day is one with at least 0.04 inches of liquid or liquid-equivalent precipitation. The chance of wet days in Anchorage varies throughout the year.
The wetter season lasts 3.6 months, from July 10 to October 29, with a greater than 26% chance of a given day being a wet day. The month with the most wet days in Anchorage is September, with an average of 11.3 days with at least 0.04 inches of precipitation.
The drier season lasts 8.4 months, from October 29 to July 10. The month with the fewest wet days in Anchorage is April, with an average of 4.0 days with at least 0.04 inches of precipitation.
Among wet days, we distinguish between those that experience rain alone, snow alone, or a mixture of the two. Based on this categorization, the most common form of precipitation in Anchorage changes throughout the year.
Rain alone is the most common for 7.6 months, from March 20 to November 6. The month with the most days of rain alone in Anchorage is September, with an average of 11.2 days.
Snow alone is the most common for 4.4 months, from November 6 to March 20. The month with the most days of snow alone in Anchorage is December, with an average of 5.1 days.
Daily Chance of Precipitation in Anchorage
To show variation within the months and not just the monthly totals, we show the rainfall accumulated over a sliding 31-day period centered around each day of the year. Anchorage experiences significant seasonal variation in monthly rainfall.
The rainy period of the year lasts for 7.5 months, from April 12 to November 29, with a sliding 31-day rainfall of at least 0.5 inches. The month with the most rain in Anchorage is September, with an average rainfall of 3.1 inches.
The rainless period of the year lasts for 4.5 months, from November 29 to April 12. The month with the least rain in Anchorage is March, with an average rainfall of 0.3 inches.
Average Monthly Rainfall in Anchorage
As with rainfall, we consider the snowfall accumulated over a sliding 31-day period centered around each day of the year. Anchorage experiences significant seasonal variation in monthly snowfall.
The snowy period of the year lasts for 6.4 months, from October 2 to April 14, with a sliding 31-day snowfall of at least 1.0 inches. The month with the most snow in Anchorage is December, with an average snowfall of 9.6 inches.
The snowless period of the year lasts for 5.6 months, from April 14 to October 2. The least snow falls around July 18, with an average total accumulation of 0.0 inches.
Average Monthly Snowfall in Anchorage
The length of the day in Anchorage varies extremely over the course of the year. In 2023, the shortest day is December 21, with 5 hours, 27 minutes of daylight; the longest day is June 21, with 19 hours, 23 minutes of daylight.
Hours of Daylight and Twilight in Anchorage
The earliest sunrise is at 4:19 AM on June 19, and the latest sunrise is 5 hours, 56 minutes later at 10:15 AM on December 26. The earliest sunset is at 3:40 PM on December 16, and the latest sunset is 8 hours, 3 minutes later at 11:42 PM on June 22.
Daylight saving time (DST) is observed in Anchorage during 2023, starting in the spring on March 12, lasting 7.8 months, and ending in the fall on November 5.
Sunrise & Sunset with Twilight and Daylight Saving Time in Anchorage
The figure below presents a compact representation of the sun's elevation (the angle of the sun above the horizon) and azimuth (its compass bearing) for every hour of every day in the reporting period. The horizontal axis is the day of the year and the vertical axis is the hour of the day. For a given day and hour of that day, the background color indicates the azimuth of the sun at that moment. The black isolines are contours of constant solar elevation.
Solar Elevation and Azimuth in Anchorage
The figure below presents a compact representation of key lunar data for 2023. The horizontal axis is the day, the vertical axis is the hour of the day, and the colored areas indicate when the moon is above the horizon. The vertical gray bars (new Moons) and blue bars (full Moons) indicate key Moon phases.
Moon Rise, Set & Phases in Anchorage
We base the humidity comfort level on the dew point, as it determines whether perspiration will evaporate from the skin, thereby cooling the body. Lower dew points feel drier and higher dew points feel more humid. Unlike temperature, which typically varies significantly between night and day, dew point tends to change more slowly, so while the temperature may drop at night, a muggy day is typically followed by a muggy night.
The perceived humidity level in Anchorage, as measured by the percentage of time in which the humidity comfort level is muggy, oppressive, or miserable, does not vary significantly over the course of the year, remaining a virtually constant 0% throughout.
Humidity Comfort Levels in Anchorage
dry 55°F comfortable 60°F humid 65°F muggy 70°F oppressive 75°F miserable
This section discusses the wide-area hourly average wind vector (speed and direction) at 10 meters above the ground. The wind experienced at any given location is highly dependent on local topography and other factors, and instantaneous wind speed and direction vary more widely than hourly averages.
The average hourly wind speed in Anchorage experiences mild seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The windier part of the year lasts for 7.1 months, from September 14 to April 17, with average wind speeds of more than 5.4 miles per hour. The windiest month of the year in Anchorage is January, with an average hourly wind speed of 6.5 miles per hour.
The calmer time of year lasts for 4.9 months, from April 17 to September 14. The calmest month of the year in Anchorage is July, with an average hourly wind speed of 4.3 miles per hour.
Average Wind Speed in Anchorage
The predominant average hourly wind direction in Anchorage varies throughout the year.
The wind is most often from the south for 4.1 months, from May 8 to September 11, with a peak percentage of 59% on July 3. The wind is most often from the east for 3.7 weeks, from September 11 to October 7 and for 5.3 months, from November 30 to May 8, with a peak percentage of 38% on September 23. The wind is most often from the north for 1.8 months, from October 7 to November 30, with a peak percentage of 50% on November 6.
Wind Direction in Anchorage
Anchorage is located near a large body of water (e.g., ocean, sea, or large lake). This section reports on the wide-area average surface temperature of that water.
The average water temperature experiences significant seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The time of year with warmer water lasts for 2.8 months, from July 1 to September 24, with an average temperature above 50°F. The month of the year in Anchorage with the warmest water is August, with an average temperature of 54°F.
The time of year with cooler water lasts for 5.8 months, from November 25 to May 18, with an average temperature below 37°F. The month of the year in Anchorage with the coolest water is March, with an average temperature of 32°F.
Average Water Temperature in Anchorage
To characterize how pleasant the weather is in Anchorage throughout the year, we compute two travel scores.
The tourism score favors clear, rainless days with perceived temperatures between 65°F and 80°F. Based on this score, the best time of year to visit Anchorage for general outdoor tourist activities is from late June to early August, with a peak score in the third week of July.
Tourism Score in Anchorage
The beach/pool score favors clear, rainless days with perceived temperatures between 75°F and 90°F. Based on this score, the best time of year to visit Anchorage for hot-weather activities is from late June to late July, with a peak score in the second week of July.
Beach/Pool Score in Anchorage
For each hour between 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM of each day in the analysis period (1980 to 2016), independent scores are computed for perceived temperature, cloud cover, and total precipitation. Those scores are combined into a single hourly composite score, which is then aggregated into days, averaged over all the years in the analysis period, and smoothed.
Our cloud cover score is 10 for fully clear skies, falling linearly to 9 for mostly clear skies, and to 1 for fully overcast skies.
Our precipitation score, which is based on the three-hour precipitation centered on the hour in question, is 10 for no precipitation, falling linearly to 9 for trace precipitation, and to 0 for 0.04 inches of precipitation or more.
Our tourism temperature score is 0 for perceived temperatures below 50°F, rising linearly to 9 for 65°F, to 10 for 75°F, falling linearly to 9 for 80°F, and to 1 for 90°F or hotter.
Our beach/pool temperature score is 0 for perceived temperatures below 65°F, rising linearly to 9 for 75°F, to 10 for 82°F, falling linearly to 9 for 90°F, and to 1 for 100°F or hotter.
Definitions of the growing season vary throughout the world, but for the purposes of this report, we define it as the longest continuous period of non-freezing temperatures (≥ 32°F) in the year (the calendar year in the Northern Hemisphere, or from July 1 until June 30 in the Southern Hemisphere).
The growing season in Anchorage typically lasts for 5.1 months (156 days), from around April 25 to around September 29, rarely starting before April 10 or after May 12, and rarely ending before September 11 or after October 15.
Time Spent in Various Temperature Bands and the Growing Season in Anchorage
frigid 15°F freezing 32°F very cold 45°F cold 55°F cool 65°F comfortable 75°F warm 85°F hot 95°F sweltering
Growing degree days are a measure of yearly heat accumulation used to predict plant and animal development, and defined as the integral of warmth above a base temperature, discarding any excess above a maximum temperature. In this report, we use a base of 50°F and a cap of 86°F.
Based on growing degree days alone, the first spring blooms in Anchorage should appear around May 30, only rarely appearing before May 20 or after June 11.
Growing Degree Days in Anchorage
This section discusses the total daily incident shortwave solar energy reaching the surface of the ground over a wide area, taking full account of seasonal variations in the length of the day, the elevation of the Sun above the horizon, and absorption by clouds and other atmospheric constituents. Shortwave radiation includes visible light and ultraviolet radiation.
The average daily incident shortwave solar energy experiences extreme seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The brighter period of the year lasts for 3.0 months, from May 1 to July 31, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter above 4.7 kWh. The brightest month of the year in Anchorage is June, with an average of 5.8 kWh.
The darker period of the year lasts for 4.1 months, from October 18 to February 21, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter below 1.3 kWh. The darkest month of the year in Anchorage is December, with an average of 0.2 kWh.
Average Daily Incident Shortwave Solar Energy in Anchorage
For the purposes of this report, the geographical coordinates of Anchorage are 61.218 deg latitude, -149.900 deg longitude, and 98 ft elevation.
The topography within 2 miles of Anchorage contains only modest variations in elevation, with a maximum elevation change of 177 feet and an average elevation above sea level of 48 feet. Within 10 miles contains only modest variations in elevation (3,212 feet). Within 50 miles contains large variations in elevation (7,936 feet).
The area within 2 miles of Anchorage is covered by artificial surfaces (79%) and sparse vegetation (14%), within 10 miles by water (29%) and trees (22%), and within 50 miles by trees (32%) and shrubs (21%).
This report illustrates the typical weather in Anchorage, based on a statistical analysis of historical hourly weather reports and model reconstructions from January 1, 1980 to December 31, 2016.
Temperature and Dew Point
There are 2 weather stations near enough to contribute to our estimation of the temperature and dew point in Anchorage.
For each station, the records are corrected for the elevation difference between that station and Anchorage according to the International Standard Atmosphere , and by the relative change present in the MERRA-2 satellite-era reanalysis between the two locations.
The estimated value at Anchorage is computed as the weighted average of the individual contributions from each station, with weights proportional to the inverse of the distance between Anchorage and a given station.
The stations contributing to this reconstruction are:
To get a sense of how much these sources agree with each other, you can view a comparison of Anchorage and the stations that contribute to our estimates of its temperature history and climate. Please note that each source's contribution is adjusted for elevation and the relative change present in the MERRA-2 data.
All data relating to the Sun's position (e.g., sunrise and sunset) are computed using astronomical formulas from the book, Astronomical Algorithms 2nd Edition , by Jean Meeus.
All other weather data, including cloud cover, precipitation, wind speed and direction, and solar flux, come from NASA's MERRA-2 Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis . This reanalysis combines a variety of wide-area measurements in a state-of-the-art global meteorological model to reconstruct the hourly history of weather throughout the world on a 50-kilometer grid.
Land Use data comes from the Global Land Cover SHARE database , published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Elevation data comes from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) , published by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Names, locations, and time zones of places and some airports come from the GeoNames Geographical Database .
Time zones for airports and weather stations are provided by AskGeo.com .
Maps are © OpenStreetMap contributors.
The information on this site is provided as is, without any assurances as to its accuracy or suitability for any purpose. Weather data is prone to errors, outages, and other defects. We assume no responsibility for any decisions made on the basis of the content presented on this site.
We draw particular cautious attention to our reliance on the MERRA-2 model-based reconstructions for a number of important data series. While having the tremendous advantages of temporal and spatial completeness, these reconstructions: (1) are based on computer models that may have model-based errors, (2) are coarsely sampled on a 50 km grid and are therefore unable to reconstruct the local variations of many microclimates, and (3) have particular difficulty with the weather in some coastal areas, especially small islands.
We further caution that our travel scores are only as good as the data that underpin them, that weather conditions at any given location and time are unpredictable and variable, and that the definition of the scores reflects a particular set of preferences that may not agree with those of any particular reader.
Please review our full terms contained on our Terms of Service page.