Second major snowstorm in a week closes schools, clogs roads and sidewalks

Just days after more than 2 feet of snow buried parts of Anchorage, a new storm dumped at least a foot more on the city and wreaked havoc Monday, with more wintry weather expected later this week.

Accumulations of 12 to 18 inches of fresh snow in the Anchorage Bowl — about 2 feet on the Hillside — led to harrowing driving conditions even on major highways in what some dubbed “Snowpocalypse 2022, Part 2.”

Schools in Anchorage closed for a fourth day Monday as city and state plow crews churned through the fresh deluge after struggling to clear the heavy build-up of snow clogging side streets from the first storm. The state of Alaska announced all offices in Anchorage and Mat-Su, along with those in Kenai and Soldotna, would be closed due to the winter conditions.

Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson said the municipality was doing everything possible to clear heavy accumulations around the city, a process taking longer than usual due to the back-to-back storms.

“The problem with the slow down is the volume of snow, and we need to get through that,” Bronson said at a briefing Monday. “This response is based on the sheer volume of the snow. Had we had these two snowfalls 10 days or 2 weeks apart, this would be a far more normal operation.”

People Mover initially ran buses Monday with delays but soon suspended service altogether. A decision about whether the system would resume service will be decided at 5 a.m. Tuesday.

Even normally well-traveled routes like the Glenn Highway were bad enough early Monday that some Mat-Su commuters said they ventured out only to turn back and head home.


Alaska Department of Transportation crews prioritized main highways on Monday morning, a job made challenging by blowing snow, said Justin Shelby, the central region’s administrative operations manager.

“Crews are having to make multiple passes to keep lanes open,” Shelby said. “That’s something that we expect as long as this weather continues -- the winds are going to be causing drifting snow on the roadways even after they’re plowed.”

Snow had been plowed from all state roadways after last week’s storm dropped 1 to 2 feet across Anchorage, but crews had not yet hauled away the snow, he said. Large berms stacked alongside roads made it more difficult for crews to clear sidewalks.

[One reason for snowplow delays? Poor planning and preparation in City Hall, say elected officials]

The worst road conditions were reported near Soldotna and along the Glenn and Parks highways near Wasilla and Palmer.

“Definitely avoid going out if you can,” Shelby said late Monday morning. “If you do have to go out, definitely be prepared for a large snowdrift. The highways are open, but difficult. More local roads are going to have a lot more snow accumulation.

Officials in the Anchorage mayor’s office say they are pursuing new arrangements with labor unions, private contractors, and the school district to increase capacity for snow removal.

That’s helped bring 10 additional pieces of grading equipment online, according to Bronson, and given city officials more flexibility to clear sidewalks, alleys and trails, in addition to arterial roadways and snow collectors.

Pedestrian killed on snowy Kenai road

Heavy snow blanketed a large swath of Southcentral starting Sunday afternoon, leading to dangerous conditions that contributed to at least one death, authorities say.

In Kenai, a 31-year-old Kenai woman died Sunday evening after she was struck by a pickup with a plow while walking on a snow-covered road during whiteout conditions, Alaska State Troopers said.

Many local governments shut down operations in Mat-Su, including Wasilla and Houston city halls and public pools. All schools shifted to remote learning. Generally, 10 to 20 inches fell across the area, said meteorologist Eric Drewitz. Chickaloon reported 30 inches.

Most Kenai Peninsula schools were also closed, with a just a handful open or on two-hour delays. Most of the Kenai Peninsula saw roughly 15 to 20 inches of snow by Monday morning, Drewitz said, although totals ranged from 6 to 12 inches toward Homer. The heaviest snow fell near Cohoe, where 22 inches was reported, and Sterling, with more than 21 inches.

Up and down the road system, the Veterans Administration canceled medical appointments at Anchorage, Fairbanks, Mat-Su, Homer and Soldotna facilities, citing “inclement winter weather and treacherous road conditions.” A community-based VA clinic in Juneau remained open Monday.

Potentially record-breaking precipitation

The concentrated snowfall of the past few days, combined with more weather bearing down later this week, has Anchorage poised to hit its wettest year on record, forecasters say.

It’s likely the city will surpass the 1989 precipitation record of 27.55 inches of “liquid equivalents” by month’s end -- if not within a few days, Drewitz said. That count stood at 27.03 inches on Sunday.

Anchorage broke a daily snowfall record that day with 9 inches of snow recorded near Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, he said. The previous record was set in 2007, when 6 inches fell on that date.

The 31 inches of snow near the airport Monday morning was the seventh-deepest snow depth on record, Drewitz said.


The snow tapered off by noon across much of Southcentral, though some areas of Mat-Su continued to see precipitation into the afternoon.

[Anchorage pedestrians navigate a post-snowstorm obstacle course]

But more snow — or a combination of snow and rain — is in the forecast this week.

A fast-moving storm is expected on Tuesday, according to meteorologist Carson Jones. Then a still-evolving weather pattern coming Wednesday into Thursday is expected to bring precipitation that may start as snow and turn to rain before turning back.

“Whether that falls as rain or all snow is still to be determined,” he said. “It’s likely going to be a mix.”

Zaz Hollander

Zaz Hollander is a veteran journalist based in the Mat-Su and is currently an ADN local news editor and reporter. She covers breaking news, the Mat-Su region, aviation and general assignments. Contact her at

Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, focusing on breaking news and public safety. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota and previously helped cover the Nebraska Legislature for The Associated Press. Contact her at

Zachariah Hughes

Zachariah Hughes covers the military, dog mushing, politics, subsistence issues and general assignments for the Anchorage Daily News. Prior to joining the ADN he worked in Alaska’s public radio network, and got his start in journalism at KNOM in Nome.