Snow storm closes Anchorage schools, slows morning traffic

Cars on a highway with snow
Fresh snow in Anchorage made Seward Highway traffic a little slower on Wednesday. (Matt Faubion/Alaska Public Media)

An overnight snow storm closed Anchorage schools on Thursday and slowed morning traffic.

Anchorage School District officials announced the school closure shortly before 6 a.m. Thursday citing the weather’s impacts on its strained bus system. The district also canceled all after-school activities.

The National Weather Service warned of slippery road conditions Thursday. Its winter weather advisory for the Anchorage area is in effect until 6 p.m.

According to meteorologist Michael Kutz, snow fell across Anchorage overnight and into Thursday with about 7 inches of snow accumulating at the weather service’s office near the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport by 10 a.m. — when most major snowfall tapered off.

By Thursday afternoon, Kutz said only upper elevations should watch for significant additional snow.

“The Anchorage Bowl is almost completely done with the snow, but we’re hanging on to it for the Hillside,” he said.

Northwesterly winds of 20 to 25 mph were expected to arrive Thursday night and gradually calm by Saturday evening, with the possibility of blowing uncleared snow onto roadways and sidewalks.

Kutz recommended that afternoon commuters Thursday clear any blown snow from windshields and headlights before getting on the road. As of 1 p.m. Thursday, Anchorage police dispatchers had reports of 20 vehicle accidents including two with injuries, plus 19 vehicles in distress.

Kutz also urged that people dress warmly outdoors over the weekend, as temperatures falling into the single digits combine with a rising wind chill.

“With a 20 mph wind, that gets quite frosty,” he said.

Anchorage School District officials say they will still hold a community town hall at Birchwood ABC Elementary School at 6 p.m. Thursday about proposed school closures.

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