Dozens of wrecks reported on icy Anchorage roads

Benjamin S. Brasch
An early morning snowfall in Anchorage soon turned to freezing rain, which made the roads, and sidewalks extremely slippery. Anchorage police officers responded to multiple vehicles in the ditch along the inbound lane of the Glenn Highway on Saturday night, November 9, 2013.
Bob Hallinen
An early morning snowfall in Anchorage soon turned to freezing rain, which made the roads, and side walks extremely slippery. Volunteers try to push a car that spun out and ended up high centered on the median on Northern Lights Blvd. in west Anchorage on Saturday, November 9, 210. They were unable to move the car. The driver of a suburban stopped by with a tow strap and pulled the car off the median. 131109
Bob Hallinen
Miles Leguineche (left) and Paul Norris of the West High School hockey team sell sandbags at the corner of Northern Lights and Minnesota Saturday afternoon. Both are juniors on the team; Leguineche is a defenseman and Norris plays left wing. The team sold sandbags last weekend, this weekend and hope to sell more next weekend.

Cars sliding sideways through intersections, main traffic arteries shut down, dozens of wrecks on slippery streets. The first widespread icy road conditions of the season in Anchorage brought the usual annual rash of vehicle accidents on Saturday afternoon.

As of 3:30 p.m., police had responded to five vehicle accidents with injuries, said police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro. Among them was a driver who crashed through the wall of a house in East Anchorage.

As of 6 p.m. Saturday, there were 67 vehicle collisions without injuries and 33 "vehicle in distress" calls, which could be anything from a driver who can't get up a hill to losing control of their car, she said.

Police closed portions of the Glenn Highway and DeBarr Road because of vehicle accidents.

Police closed eastbound lanes of DeBarr Road for an hour and a half because a woman smashed her Kia through the wall of a house near Edward Street, she said.

The woman hit the house just after noon and was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Castro said.

Later Saturday, Alaska State Troopers and the Girdwood Fire Department pulled a man out of his truck after the vehicle rolled off the Seward Highway near Indian, said Girdwood Fire Lt. William Parry.

After firefighters slid him out of a hole in the truck's roof, the man was taken to an Anchorage hospital with minor injuries, he said.

The road was icy and frosted over when the man lost control of his truck, Parry said. The truck didn't have winter tires, he said.

"It's that one day, that we're all very familiar with unfortunately," he said.

The National Weather Service office on Sand Lake Road measured .2 of an inch of snow, making it the first measurable amount of the season, said Bill Ludwig, forecaster with the National Weather Service's Anchorage office.

Ludwig said Anchorage is being affected by a two-headed weather front that resulted in winter storm warnings for much of the Interior and northern reaches of Alaska and has given Southcentral Alaska rain, freezing rain and snow.

The side of the front affecting Anchorage has warm and moist air sitting on top of cold air, he said.

Ludwig said more cold air will come from the west, mix with the current front and create snow Sunday afternoon.

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