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Weather

Blizzard warning for Seward Highway through Turnagain Pass overnight into Wednesday

Heavy snow and wind are expected to create dangerous driving conditions along the Seward Highway from Girdwood through Turnagain Pass starting Tuesday night and through Wednesday, days after another system moved through the area.

The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for the area beginning at 10 p.m. Tuesday until 6 p.m. Wednesday. Avalanche forecasters say the storm is expected to add fresh accumulation to an already unstable snowpack in the mountains south of Anchorage.

Anchorage is forecast to see rain Wednesday afternoon as high temperatures reach into the mid-30s or lower 40s with the potential for light snow Wednesday night, the weather service said.

The worst conditions are expected between Whittier and eastern Turnagain Arm, according to the weather service. The forecast calls for 10 to 20 inches of snow north of Turnagain Pass and 6 to 12 inches south toward Seward, with wind gusts up to 50 mph expected to significantly limit visibility or create whiteout conditions.

Seward Highway drivers on Tuesday afternoon were already describing treacherous driving conditions south of Girdwood.

Avalanche danger in Turnagain Pass remains significant after last weekend’s storms and with the new storm system moving in, forecasters say. The new system will create continued avalanche danger in coming days, said Wendy Wagner, director of the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center.

A number of large avalanches reported within the region in recent weeks are signs of an unstable snowpack. No serious injuries or deaths have been attributed to avalanches so far this season.

Wagner advised backcountry recreators to avoid avalanche terrain during the storm on Tuesday and Wednesday, but also said danger may be elevated in the following days.

Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter 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. Contact her at twilliams@adn.com.

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