Update 5 p.m. Monday:
Anchorage police closed the outbound lanes of the Glenn Highway just before the Boniface Parkway exit because of a 12-vehicle pileup around 4 p.m. Police had one lane open about an hour later, and officers were directing traffic, the Anchorage Police Department said.
Patrol Sgt.Gerard Asselin said drivers need to clear off windshields and make sure their headlights and brake lights are clear. They also need to slow down. Drivers have been getting stuck in berms, sliding off the road, and wrecking all day, he said.
The winter storm warning remains in effect until midnight, with the National Weather Service saying at 4 p.m. to expect 2-4 more inches of accumulation.
Update, 1:50 p.m. Monday:
From Lisa Demer -
The big spring snowstorm is continuing across Southcentral Alaska and beyond, with a blizzard warning for Whittier, 12 inches of fresh snow on the Anchorage Hillside and cancellation of Monday’s late-afternoon session at King Career Center.
The National Weather Service on Monday issued a winter storm warning for Anchorage including Eagle River and the Hillside, which means “a significant winter storm” that could threaten people or property is occurring.
Drivers are advised to be extra cautious. Between 12 inches and 18 inches of snow is predicted through 5 a.m. Tuesday, and some areas may get more.
In Whittier, blowing snow and visibility of less than a quarter mile led the weather service to issue a blizzard warning, in effect until 11 a.m. Tuesday. Whiteout conditions make travel difficult, and people are being urged to stay indoors.
A winter weather advisory, signaling weather that is an inconvenience but not as risky as that covered by a warning, also remains in effect until 5 a.m. Tuesday for the Matanuska and Susitna valleys.
The snowstorm will be most intense Monday afternoon and into the evening, said meteorologist Chris Burling.
Cars were sliding around but not in huge numbers. Between midnight and 1 p.m., Anchorage police reported two crashes with injuries, 15 in which no one was injured and 29 vehicles in distress in which vehicles slid off the road, into ditches or otherwise got into trouble because of the slick roads.
The Anchorage School District announced that the third, or late afternoon, session at King Career Center was canceled Monday, as were after-school activities at Goldenview, Mears and Romig middle schools and South High School.
The University of Alaska Anchorage's Eagle River/Chugiak and JBER campuses will close at 3 p.m., the university said.
Here is how much snow had fallen between the start of the storm early Sunday morning and 10 a.m. Monday at various spots:
- National Weather Service forecast office on Sand Lake Road: 10.8 inches
- Hillside near Birch Street and DeArmoun Road: 12 inches.
- Hillside near Potter Marsh: 11 inches
- Bayshore area: 9 inches
- 76th Avenue and Arctic Boulevard:7.8 inches
- Chugiak: 3.3 inches
- Palmer: 2 inches
- Parks Highway north of Chulitna: 8 to 12 inches
- Talkeetna: 6 to 10 inches
- Whittier: 18 to 20 inches.
For Anchorage, two of the five snowiest days on record occurred in March, according to Burling, who was reviewing National Weather Service records.
The top five daily snowfalls for Anchorage:
- 22 inches on March 17. 2002
- 15.6 inches on Dec. 29, 1955
- 15.5 inches on April 25, 2008
- 15.1 inches on Dec. 4, 1998
- 14.3 inches on March 18, 1976
Update, 10 a.m. Monday:
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for the Anchorage area, and now says 8 to 15 inches of additional accumulation is possible before the snow tapers off Monday evening.
Snow has been falling throughout the area all morning, roads are slick and visibility is poor in many places. Accidents were reported scattered across the city.
In the Matanuska Valley, an additional 5 to 9 inches of snow is forecast, the weather service said.
Update, 6:45 a.m. Monday:
Snowfall is expected to continue across the Anchorage and Mat-Su areas on Monday, with as much as 18 inches total accumulation by Tuesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.
The storm is pretty much tracking as forecast on Sunday. Between 4 and 8 inches of additional snow is expected in Anchorage on Monday, with another 1 to 3 inches on Monday night, the weather service said. In the Matanuska Valley, 3 to 6 inches is expected, the weather service said, with 4 to 8 inches in the Susitna Valley.
A snowfall record for March 24 was set in Anchorage on Sunday, with the 5.8 inches at the weather service offices near the international airport. The old record was 3.6 inches in 1972.
All schools in the area are in session.
All current weather service forecasts and advisories here.
Update, 5:30 p.m. Sunday:
From Lisa Demer in Anchorage --
Never mind that it’s spring. Expect a snow blitz tonight and through Monday.
A National Weather Service meteorologist on Sunday afternoon said that forecasters expect heavier snowfall overnight Sunday and that as much as 8 inches may pile up on Monday alone. All told, the snowstorm may bring 16 inches or more to Anchorage, the weather service said.
“It looks a pretty good bet that we’re going to get a significant snowfall out of this,” meteorologist Chris Burling said. “Confidence is fairly high.”
The snowstorm is stretching from the Kenai Peninsula, which isn’t expected to get as much, into the Matanuska and Susitna valleys, which are expected to see accumulations similar to Anchorage.
Southcentral Alaska generally sees bigger snowfalls in January or February than in March, but giant snow dumps late in the season aren’t unheard of.
In March 2002, more than two feet of snow fell in Anchorage.
A winter weather advisory is in effect in Anchorage from 10 p.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Tuesday for Anchorage. For the Mat-Su, the advisory begins later, at 4 a.m. Monday
The weather service issues advisories for “imminent hazards” that could be dangerous if people don't take due caution.
Meaning, slow down, drivers.
Update, 12:30 p.m.:
In an update posted midday Sunday, the National Weather Service is now forecasting between 12 inches and 18 inches of snow through early Tuesday.
A winter weather advisory is in effect starting at 10 p.m. Sunday. The heaviest snow is expected near the mountains.
Original story, Sunday morning:
It may be spring but it's still Alaska. The National Weather Service is forecasting a "long duration snowfall event" for Anchorage and the Matanuska Valley starting Sunday morning, with between 6 inches and 13 inches total accumulation by Monday.
The weather service is forecasting 1 to 3 inches of snow on Sunday, 3 to 6 inches Sunday night and another 2 to 4 inches on Monday before it begins to taper off late in the day.
All current weather service forecasts and advisories here.