Weather

Up to 8 inches of snow now forecast for Anchorage on Tuesday as storm crosses Southcentral Alaska

Anchorage is now expected to see significant snow accumulation Tuesday as a storm moves through Southcentral Alaska.

Parts of the Susitna Valley and Turnagain Pass areas are still expected to get the most snow.

The storm is expected to head northeast into Anchorage and the Matanuska Valley late Monday and early Tuesday, said National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Ottenweller.

In the Anchorage Bowl, 4 to 6 inches of snow is expected by Tuesday afternoon, with 5 to 8 inches on the Hillside. The weather service issued a winter weather advisory for the area active from 1 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Palmer could see 2 to 4 inches of snow by Tuesday. The weather service issued a special weather statement for the area and said snowfall will taper off throughout the day on Tuesday.

Snow began falling in Southcentral on Sunday and is expected to continue over several days, with winter storm warnings and advisories lasting until Tuesday, Ottenweller said.

“There’s plenty more snow for Valdez and down in Turnagain Pass, places like that,” he said by phone Monday morning. “Plenty more snow still to come for those folks.”

Wind gusts of 45 mph were expected in the Prince William Sound area, and Ottenweller said a 50-mph gust was recorded at Glen Alps in Anchorage.

Throughout the region, driving conditions will be challenging. Heavy and blowing snow is expected to significantly reduce visibility. Driving conditions on the Parks Highway were considered difficult north of Wasilla on Monday morning, according to the Department of Transportation. Road conditions on the Seward Highway from the Portage Valley area toward Seward were also considered difficult.

Avalanche danger was high Monday at all elevations in the Turnagain Pass area, the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center said. Human-triggered and natural avalanches were reported Sunday, the center said.

Avalanche danger in Hatcher Pass was also considerable Monday, with human-triggered wind-slab avalanches likely and natural avalanches possible, the Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center said.

A winter storm warning will last until 6 a.m. Tuesday for the Portage Valley to north of Seward. One to 2 feet of snow is expected in the area, with the highest totals along the Seward Highway from Turnagain Pass to north of Seward, the weather service said.

Heavier snowfall is expected Monday morning along coastal areas but will shift inland during the afternoon and evening, according to the weather service.

“Temperatures are expected to warm along the coast during the storm, likely leading to a changeover to rain or a rain/snow mix for Whittier and Seward today,” the warning said. “This will lead to reduced snowfall totals of around 4 to 8 inches for Whittier and Seward.”

A winter weather warning will be in effect for the western Kenai Peninsula, including Kenai, Soldotna, Homer and Cooper Landing, until 8 a.m. Tuesday. Six to 10 inches of snow is expected, the advisory said. Wind gusts up to 35 mph will create blowing snow.

A winter storm warning remains in effect for the Susitna Valley until 5 a.m. Tuesday, and the weather service said 8 to 16 inches of snow could fall over the southern valley and 16 to 30 inches over the northern and western valley. Up to 4 feet is possible in the foothills of the Alaska Range, the weather service said.

“The most persistent heavy snow and highest snow amounts will be north and west of Talkeetna,” the warning said.

About 19 inches of snow had been recorded in the south Susitna Valley by Monday morning and 14 inches was reported west of Big Lake, said meteorologist Brandon Lawson.

Temperatures Monday morning were hovering just above freezing across most of Southcentral Alaska, Ottenweller said. In Anchorage, a high of 38 degrees was expected. The warmer temperatures turned some precipitation into rainfall in Anchorage and Seward, he said.

“That warm air is there through much of the day today, but by the time we get to the overnight hours tonight, really just after dark, things will start to cool down,” Ottenweller said. “It will cool down pretty rapidly overnight, so that’ll drive our temperatures well back below freezing.”

Temperatures throughout the region are expected to remain below freezing in coming days, and Ottenweller said another storm system is expected in the region later this week.

“From a statewide perspective, the storm that we are currently dealing with is the more significant of the two, but only by a small margin,” he said. “This next one is definitely a considerable storm as well.”

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