Weather

Snow, freezing rain, wind in forecast for much of Southcentral Alaska over holiday weekend

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A storm system moving through Southcentral Alaska this weekend brings the potential for wind, snow and freezing rain just in time for New Year’s Day.

• Anchorage and Mat-Su: Potential for freezing rain

A National Weather Service winter weather advisory, in effect through midnight Sunday night, cautions of possibly hazardous travel for Anchorage and Mat-Su, where some residents are still recovering from back-to-back December snowstorms followed by high winds last weekend.

The weather service expected light snow to develop in Anchorage and the Mat-Su and quickly change to freezing rain Sunday morning. The weather service said up to an inch of snow and ice accumulations of a glaze up to a tenth of an inch were possible for Anchorage and the Matanuska Valley, which includes Palmer, Wasilla, Sutton and Chickaloon.

Temperatures in most of Anchorage, along with areas closer to Meadow Lakes and Big Lake, were expected to remain below freezing, while the Upper Hillside, Palmer and Wasilla could see temperatures rise above freezing. Wind gusts up to 45 mph were possible in Bear Valley and upper Potter Marsh, according to the weather service.

• Girdwood, Whittier, Turnagain Pass, Seward: Heavy snow, potentially rain, increasing winds

South of Anchorage, from Girdwood to Seward, the National Weather Service was cautioning of strong winds, heavy snow and potentially hazardous road conditions Sunday. A winter weather advisory covering the western Prince William Sound area through 3 p.m. Sunday said snow accumulations of 6 to 15 inches were possible. Turnagain Pass and Summit Lake could see snowfall rates of 1 to 3 inches an hour overnight into Sunday, according to the weather service, before that heavy snowfall turns into a combination of rain and snow, or heavy rain, on Sunday afternoon. The storm was expected to also bring high winds to the region, with gusts as high as 60 mph through the northern portions of Turnagain Pass, according to the weather service.

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The snow combined with strong winds could significantly reduce visibility, and mixed precipitation could create dangerous driving conditions.

• Kenai, Soldotna, Homer: Mixed precipitation

On the western Kenai Peninsula — including the communities of Kenai and Soldotna — snow accumulation of up to 1 inch along with ice accumulation of up to two-tenths of an inch were possible with mixed precipitation in the forecast, according to the weather service. In Homer, that precipitation was likely to fall as rain, according to a winter weather advisory that expires at midnight Sunday night. The weather service urged drivers to use caution, describing the potential for low visibility caused by blowing snow on the Sterling Highway between Anchor Point and Kenai.

Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, focusing on breaking news. 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 twilliams@adn.com.

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