It's bragging rights for any Anchorage resident: The winter of 2011-12 is in the books as the snowiest on record.
Snow fell across the city Saturday morning and into the afternoon, and at 4 p.m. the official tally was 133.6 inches, breaking a record set during the winter of 1954-55 by an even 1 inch. Another 0.9 inches fell by 7 p.m., putting the total at 134.5, where it would likely stand through the evening, the Weather Service said.
The story of this winter is one of many snowfalls but not many large ones. There were 36 days with at least one inch of snow. On only two days did it snow 7 inches or more.
For many, Saturday was just another snowy day of driving, now in spring slush. Others watched the snow fall with anticipation. An afternoon snowfall measurement at the National Weather Service put Anchorage over the top.
"Looks like we easily broke the record here," said ruler-wielding Weather Service forecaster Christian Cassell, after taking the measurement. Then, simply, "We broke it by an inch."
Cassell said the phones had been ringing all morning at the Weather Service forecast office. Three people had stopped by to see history in the making but were turned away. It was a little bit weird having photographers and a reporter in the office, Cassell said.
"There's going to be a lot of excited people," Cassell said after checking his math and sending out a public information statement on the snowfall.
The Weather Service's office on Sand Lake Road, near Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, has been the official spot for measuring snowfall since 1998. The recordings were previously made at Point Campbell, a place with similar meteorological conditions, from 1953 to 1998, explained meteorologist Shaun Baines.
A weather observer on DeArmoun Road measured 4.5 inches by 4:30 p.m., the most in Anchorage on Saturday, the Weather Service said. Other locations on the Hillside likely received much more snow than the Sand Lake office, forecasters said. That data, from volunteer observers, was still being analyzed, they said.