Most Mat-Su schools again closed as major storm approaches Anchorage

A snowplow pushes through thick snow on a residential street.
A snowplow for the Municipality of Anchorage moves snow from a residential street in East Anchorage around noon on Monday. (Valerie Kern/Alaska Public Media)

Most Mat-Su Borough schools are closed again Wednesday due to snowy road conditions, as forecasters warn of another major snowstorm forecast to hit the Anchorage and Mat-Su areas overnight.

The Mat-Su Borough School District announced a third consecutive remote learning day for all but five of its northern schools Wednesday. District spokeswoman Jillian Morrissey said there’s a plowing backlog at schools across the district.

“We started round-the-clock operations on Sunday to keep clearing, and we just kept receiving more and more snow,” she said.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for Anchorage and the Mat-Su, in effect from 6 p.m. Wednesday through 9 a.m. Thursday.

This will be the third major storm to hit the area in about a week. It comes as Anchorage and Mat-Su are still digging out of the first two storms, which dropped more than 2 feet of snow. The snow continues to clog roadways and swamp sidewalks. The Anchorage School District just resumed school Tuesday after four straight snow days.

Meteorologist Carson Jones said the latest storm is expected to bring heavy snow. As of Wednesday afternoon, the weather service was forecasting 7 to 10 inches overnight for most Anchorage, and 10 to 14 inches on the upper Hillside.

The main snowfall should arrive just after Wednesday’s evening commute, said Jones.

“If you get off work around 6 it could start to get a little heavier, but we’re looking at most of our heaviest accumulation 8 p.m. onwards through about 6 a.m. tomorrow, with some lighter stuff lingering maybe until around 8 a.m,” he said.

About a foot of snow piles up on a mailbox in Anchorage
Snow piles up on a mailbox in Anchorage on Monday. (Annie Feidt/Alaska Public Media)

Much of the Mat-Su should receive 6 to 11 inches of snow during the storm, with higher concentrations expected in areas like Hatcher Pass.

Light snow fell around much of Anchorage throughout the day Wednesday, plus some freezing rain. A special weather statement warned of intermittent freezing rain across Anchorage and the Mat-Su, into early Wednesday afternoon. Police reported freezing rain Wednesday morning on the Glenn Highway near Birchwood, after an inbound collision with minor injuries slowed traffic.

Meteorologist Matthew Clay said Wednesday afternoon that the rain was expected to taper off, with the storm primarily delivering snow overnight Wednesday.

Lesser snowfall of 5 to 9 inches is expected on the Kenai Peninsula, with the western peninsula near Homer under a winter weather advisory.

The weather service is warning drivers to plan on slippery road conditions throughout Anchorage, Mat-Su and the Kenai Peninsula, and says hazardous road conditions could impact the Thursday morning commute.

RELATED: Anchorage Mayor Bronson commits more workers and equipment to snow removal

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