Anchorage creeps within inches of seasonal snowfall record

Anchorage is edging ever closer to a seasonal snowfall record that’s now less than 5 inches away.

By Friday, this winter’s total snowfall at the National Weather Service offices on Sand Lake Road near Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport measured 130.5 inches — just over 4 inches off the record of 134.5, set after an early April storm put totals over the top in the winter of 2011-2012.

That’s already enough to put the city’s snowfall at third highest on record behind the winter of 1955-1956 and a season total of 132.6.

The city might not hit the record this week, but there are snow showers in the forecast for Saturday and more snow possible next week, meteorologist Michael Kutz said Friday.

“We’re going to edge up to it, I’ve got a feeling,” Kutz said. “I’ve been joking around saying we’re going to march right up to 134.4 and stop.”

The forecast for Friday called for the possibility of little additional snow in West Anchorage and the Sand Lake area where the weather service takes official snow measurements. Snow reports around the city from Thursday into Friday ranged from five inches at Upper Potter Valley and nearly four and a half inches at Rabbit Creek to an inch or two at lower elevations.

This winter’s snow season started off gangbusters before slowing. Anchorage was hit hard and early by back-to-back storms in November that closed schools, clogged streets, and set a new record for monthly snow totals. December continued the trend, closing out a year logged as the snowiest on record since at least 1953.


By the end of January, Anchorage officials took the unprecedented step of warning more than 1,000 commercial property owners of roofs potentially at risk of collapse because of record-breaking snow loads.

But in late March, winter seemed to recede: temperatures warmed, the false-spring feeling of imminent breakup emerged, and the fresh snow stalled. Just 4 1/2 inches was measured at Sand Lake last month, according to the weather service. The normal monthly snowfall is 11 inches.

Cooler temperatures returned this month, preserving the piles of snow around the city and adding fresh accumulation this week. There was nearly 2 feet on the ground in West Anchorage as of Friday.