A winter storm buried Southcentral Alaska in snow overnight Wednesday and throughout the day Thursday, causing difficult driving conditions, power outages and the cancellation of in-person school.
Depending on the location, the storm dumped between 17 and 27 inches of snow on Southcentral, and between 48 and 60 inches in Thompson Pass near Valdez.
According to the National Weather Service, the nine inches of snow that fell in Anchorage on Wednesday broke the previous record for Nov. 8, set in 1982, by more than an inch. And the snow kept coming Thursday.
Students in Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, as well as the Kenai Peninsula Borough, had a remote learning day Thursday. State offices in Anchorage and the Mat-Su also closed for the day.
Earlier this week, the Weather Service had forecast a mix of rain and snow to fall this week, potentially leading to icy road conditions.
Weather Service meteorologist Christian Landry said there were a few reports of light rain and snow near Eagle River, but most of Anchorage saw snow.
“Most commonly, we did get a lot of reports of just that heavy snowfall. And that is what we saw here at the office,” Landry said. “What was causing that? It came down to the temperatures, which were the main factor in why the forecast was so challenging.”
Between midnight and Thursday afternoon there were 11 vehicle collisions, two with injuries, and more than 60 vehicles in distress, according to Anchorage police.
Many parts of Southcentral are also experiencing power outages.
In Anchorage, Chugach Electric reported more than 3,000 outages as of 4 p.m. Thursday, with most of them in the Girdwood and Boniface Road areas.
Matanuska Electric Association reported more than 4,400 outages in the Mat-Su. Many were in the Butte area, where more than 80 percent of residents were without power.
South of Anchorage, between Portage and Crown Point, Alaska State Troopers described the road conditions as “impassable due to deep snow and disabled vehicles,” and teams were continuing to work to clear the area.
Landry, with the Weather Service, said the snow should die down going into Friday.
“The low pressure system that has been driving this precipitation is exiting to our northwest, and weakening the band of snowfall across our area,” he said.