Though a significant portion of the Anchorage Bowl woke up Monday to white snow drifting down on the city, coating lawns, roofs and roads in places, the year's first "official" snowfall remained elusive at the National Weather Service office on Sand Lake Road in the western part of Alaska's largest city.
According to Andrew Dixon, a forecaster at the agency's Anchorage office, a check had just been conducted prior to 9 a.m. to see if a measurable amount of snow had fallen at the west Anchorage location. The snow that teased along the west side of Anchorage wasn't sticking to the ground the same way it was in Eagle River and east Anchorage, including at Alaska Dispatch's offices along Merrill Field.
"Officially, Anchorage has not yet seen its first snow," Dixon said, adding that the temperatures at the office were just on the cusp of allowing for such a ruling.
"Our temp is currently 32.6 degrees," he said of the NWS office location. "There's just barely a white sheen on the top of the grass -- just a trace of snow, but no measurable snowfall."
He acknowledged that unofficial reports were coming in from around parts of the city farther from the waters of Cook Inlet that forms Anchorage's western border.
"I would guess that the east side of town, especially east of the Seward Highway, has had measurable snowfall," he said.
Further outside of Anchorage proper, there was even less doubt about whether or not the snow was sticking. Dixon said that measurements from lower elevations in Eagle River Valley, a mere 15 minutes north of Anchorage, had returned reports of 1.5 inches of snow. Even farther out, down Hiland Road in Eagle River and above 2,000 feet of elevation, a report of 4.8 inches of accumulation had come in since 6 a.m. Sunday.
The forecast for the rest of the week in Anchorage was calling for alternating clearing and clouds, with a chance of rain as temperatures remain mostly above freezing.
Contact Ben Anderson at ben(at)alaskadispatch.com