Storm expected to bring major snowfall to Susitna Valley, dump snow from Girdwood to Seward


Multiple winter storm fronts moving through Southcentral Alaska starting Sunday into Monday and Tuesday could bring 2 feet of snow or more to some areas, according to forecasters.

More snow is expected to fall in the Susitna Valley and along the eastern Kenai Peninsula with less snow accumulation and slightly higher temperatures predicted for Anchorage, Palmer and Wasilla.

Up to 24 inches of snow is possible on the eastern Kenai and beyond, including the communities of Seward, Moose Pass, Whittier and Girdwood, the National Weather Service said in a winter storm warning, which remains in effect for those areas from 6 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Tuesday.

The highest snowfall accumulation is expected in Portage and at Turnagain Pass, in areas closest to the coast. In Seward, “we’re uncertain how much warm air will come in to maybe change snow over to rain,” said meteorologist Michael Vuotto with the National Weather Service in Anchorage.

“So there’s lesser (snowfall) amounts for Whittier and the Seward areas,” likely between 6 inches and a foot in those areas, he said.

[Winter recreation is off to a solid start this season in Southcentral Alaska. Here’s the outlook for this weekend.]

A winter storm warning will also be in effect for the Susitna Valley, including the communities of Talkeetna, Willow and Cantwell, from noon Sunday to 5 a.m. Tuesday. Up to 16 inches of snow could fall in the southern part of the Susitna Valley along with up to 30 inches in the northern and western parts of the Su Valley, according to the warning.

“Highest snow amounts will be north and west of Talkeetna,” the weather service said.

On the western Kenai Peninsula, covering the communities of Kenai, Soldotna, Homer and Cooper Landing, a winter weather advisory is in place from noon Sunday through 1 a.m. Monday with blowing wind and up to 6 inches of snowfall expected.

“The worst conditions are expected in the Homer bluffs and hills north of Homer, where the winds will be the strongest,” Vuotto said. Less snowfall is expected toward Kenai and along the Sterling Highway, he said.

In Anchorage, temperatures on the west side of town could rise above freezing Sunday night — a rarity in recent weeks — while East Anchorage would likely hover around freezing, Vuotto said. Temperatures until Tuesday are expected to remain around the freezing point and a mix of snow and rain is expected to fall, meteorologist Tim Markle said. By the end of Tuesday, Anchorage could have a few inches of snow accumulation, he said.

Southeasterly winds moving through Matanuska Valley — particularly the Palmer area — could mean some higher temperatures there too, Vuotto added. Temperatures in Wasilla could reach as high as freezing, he said.

Through Tuesday, travel could be difficult along portions of the Seward Highway, especially the Portage Valley area, Vuotto said.

The Sterling Highway near Anchor Point and Homer, and the Richardson Highway from Thompson Pass down to Valdez, would also be likely difficult in terms of road conditions, he said.

Annie Berman

Annie Berman covers health care for the Anchorage Daily News. She's a fellow with Report for America, and is a graduate of the University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. A veteran of AmeriCorps and Vista volunteer programs, she's previously reported for Mission Local and KQED in the Bay Area.