Almost all Mat-Su Borough schools are closed Tuesday due to icy roads, with warmer weather poised to bring similar conditions across much of Southcentral Alaska this week.
The borough school district’s website announced a remote learning day Tuesday morning for all schools except Glacier View. Elementary and middle schools’ after-school activities were canceled for the day, but high schools’ after-school activities were still in effect.
Tim Markle, an Anchorage-based meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the weather pattern was part of an “amplification” across the state, with cold air moving across Western Alaska and warm air rising from the Pacific Ocean into the Gulf of Alaska and the Southcentral region.
The first element of the pattern to arrive in the Anchorage area was a warm front overnight Monday, Markle said, which began as light snow.
“And then as the front came through yesterday evening, and overnight, the temperatures changed,” Markle said. “We started warming up and we saw a little bit of some freezing rain kind of mixed in a little bit in the overnight hours and then a little bit of rain as the front came through.”
A special weather statement for the region, issued Tuesday morning, calls for sporadic light rain across the Kenai Peninsula moving into Anchorage and then the Matanuska Valley by early afternoon. Markle said heavy snow — up to 20 inches — is expected in areas north of Talkeetna along the Parks Highway, with a winter weather advisory in effect for those areas.
“We are expecting those warmer temperatures to get to Talkeetna later this morning and maybe transition them into a wintry mix,” Markle said. “Areas north at higher elevation will remain all snow, so it will be a mixed bag of precipitation for the Susitna Valley continuing through today.”
Anchorage should expect warming temperatures Tuesday, Markle said, with temperatures near the freezing point of 32 degrees on the east side of town. The weather service is monitoring a storm moving north into Prince William Sound by Wednesday morning, which may bring additional rain to Anchorage roads.
“The good news is, is it looks like the forecast has trended the bulk of this storm to be a little bit farther east,” Markle said. “And that would help reduce rainfall chances — especially rainfall amounts — for the Anchorage area.”