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Snow piles up in East Anchorage, different story on west side of town

Thursday night weather update from Meteorologist Melissa Frey
Published: Mar. 11, 2021 at 7:12 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The skies are clearing Thursday night after nearly 24 hours of non-stop snow for East Anchorage. Meanwhile, on the west side of town, the snow only lasted about eight hours and was much lighter and amounting to much less. Midtown was in-between the two extremes.

West and East Anchorage snow totals.
West and East Anchorage snow totals.(Alaska's Weather Source)

The official snowfall total for this storm at the National Weather Service office near Ted Stevens is just 2.6 inches, but on the east side of town, the mountains helped squeeze out 10-20 inches of snow. The placement of the low-pressure area in Prince William Sound was a perfect setup for a big snow event. As the center of the storm pushed east just enough, the counter-clockwise winds on the northwest corner of the storm were forced to come into Anchorage out of the Northeast. This pushed the air right up the Chugach Mountains, creating an additional upward force, which kicked the water cycle into high gear, allowing more snow to be created. But not only did we get upsloping, as expected, the center of this storm hardly moved for 18 hours, created a snow-making machine right over east Anchorage.

Anchorage snowfall totals
Anchorage snowfall totals(Alaska's Weather Source)

The snow depth is up to 58″ on the Anchorage Hillside, which is the highest we’ve seen since 2012. And although this storm didn’t produce heavy snow for the west side of town, the snow depth is still impressive there at 27″.

West and East Anchorage snow depth.
West and East Anchorage snow depth.(Alaska's Weather Source)

The storm has moved south, still bringing snow to Prince William Sound and Southeast. A Winter Weather Advisory is still in effect for the Eastern Turnagain Arm and Whittier for wind gusts to 35 mph causing blowing snow until 11 p.m. Thompson Pass is also under a Winter Weather Advisory late Thursday through Friday for wind gusts to 70 mph causing blowing snow, poor visibility, and dangerous wind chill values.

Further south, a separate storm will move into the southern portions of Southeast, producing a heavy wet snow near Hyder late Friday through Saturday. A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for 7-10″ of snow.

Anchorage and the rest of Southcentral will clear out Friday, but temperatures are dropping fast. We’ll see temperatures below zero overnight in East Anchorage, the Mat-Su, and near Kenai and to the lower single digits in west Anchorage. Clear and cold conditions will hold through Sunday morning before another storm moves in from the west, bringing chances for snow Monday and Tuesday to Southcentral.

Thank you to everyone who shared photos of the winter storm and submitted snowfall totals throughout the day! You can check out the weather gallery and upload your photos here.

Good luck with the shoveling and plowing if you’re in east or south Anchorage and stay safe on the roads!

-Meteorologist Melissa Frey

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