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Season’s 1st snowfall arrives in Anchorage — along with over 2 dozen car crashes

  • Author: Annie Zak
  • Updated: October 22
  • Published October 21

A light blanket of snow falls on downtown Anchorage on Saturday. (Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News)

Winter weather has arrived in Anchorage.

Alaska's largest city saw its first measurable snowfall of the season on Saturday, with "a whopping two-tenths of an inch" of powder accumulated by 4 p.m. in West Anchorage, said National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Wegman.

The first trace of snow of the season fell just before midnight Friday, he said.

"It has been sticking, it's just not all that much snow," Wegman said. He doesn't expect accumulations to get higher than an inch in Anchorage from these snow showers, which will continue into the evening.

Girdwood got 3 inches of snow by Saturday afternoon, and Portage Valley had 4 inches, Wegman said.

Anchorage police put out a winter driving alert Saturday afternoon, warning people to watch out for slick roads as the temperature drops.

"Take your time to arrive at your destination safely," the advisory said.

By about 5 p.m. Saturday, there were 26 car accidents without injuries and three with injuries in Anchorage, said APD acting supervisor Joyce Creed. There were also 13 cases of vehicles in distress or in the ditch, she said, which are incidents involving only one vehicle.

"It could be pretty much anything, but most of these, looking for the time frame, is after it started snowing, so I would think" the incidents might be weather-related, Creed said.

"It's icy conditions out there — the first little snow, everyone's going to panic," she said. "But at least it's a weekend so you don't have the school buses and things like that."

The first trace of snow for the season is about two weeks later than average, Wegman said, and the first measurable amount of snow is a few days later than usual. Those averages take into account measurements dating back to 1953.

The snow showers in Anchorage are expected to push north over the next few hours, but the Valley shouldn't expect to get much more snow than Anchorage.

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