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Live updates: Anchorage police report several collisions in city’s first big snowstorm of the season

Up to a foot and a half of snow fell in some parts of the city.
Snowfall continues to bury Anchorage on Nov. 11, 2021.
Snowfall continues to bury Anchorage on Nov. 11, 2021.(Alaska's News Source)
Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 4:09 PM AKST|Updated: Nov. 11, 2021 at 10:29 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska’s Weather Source’s team of meteorologists is bringing you the latest weather updates as winter weather spreads across Anchorage and Southcentral Alaska this week. All live updates will be posted here.

Nov. 11 — 10:06 p.m.

Anchorage snowfall tops 8 inches, police report several collisions in first big snow storm

Thursday was not just Veterans Day, it was a record-setting snowfall for Anchorage. Snow that started the previous night and continued through the day eventually led to a new daily snowfall record for the city.

The National Weather Service Forecast Office measured 8 inches for the snow event as of 9 p.m., and Anchorage now has 12 inches of snow for the month, 10 inches snow depth.

Also on Thursday, the Anchorage Police Department reported several collisions and vehicles that slid into the ditch during the city’s first major snowstorm of the season. A department spokesperson on Thursday evening reported there had been 59 vehicles in the ditch, 37 collisions that did not result in any injuries, and three collisions that involved injuries throughout the entire day.

Already, storm reports show some incredible snowfall totals.

For example, 18 inches was reported at Glen Alps and Upper Hillside, with 17.5 inches in east Anchorage (Northern Lights/Muldoon), 15 inches in Eagle River, and 12.7 inches at Huffman and New Seward Highway. Lesser, but still impressive snow amounts have been reported around town.

In the past 10 years, Anchorage has seen just eight days where it snowed more than 8 inches in a 24-hour period. On average, the city gets one day per year with an 8 inch snowfall in a 24-hour period.

Snow accumulates in the Rabbit Creek area on Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021 in Anchorage, Alaska. The...
Snow accumulates in the Rabbit Creek area on Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021 in Anchorage, Alaska. The city experienced a record snowfall event on Thursday.(Photo courtesy Scott Sell)

Snow will gradually taper off into the evening, but plan on slick roads and highways. Visibility should improve as road crews clear snow from roads and highways.

Stay with the Alaska’s Weather Source for updates on this incoming winter weather. Download the weather app here.

Correction: This post has been updated to correct the measured snowfall through 9 p.m. Thursday in Anchorage to 8 inches. The National Weather Service initially released an incorrect number, but has since revised it.

Nov. 11 — 8:29 p.m.

Snow plowing to continue through the night in Anchorage

The snow hasn’t stopped in Anchorage and neither have the snowplow drivers. Since 3 a.m. on Thursday, they’ve attempted to keep up with the nonstop snowfall and they’ll continue through the night, according to Municipality of Anchorage Street Maintenance Manager Paul VanLandingham.

“Obviously, it’s something we prepare for; we start late fall getting our equipment ready,” VanLandingham said. “It would have been nice to have a 4-to 6-incher to shake some of the cobwebs out, but we’ve got good workers, good crews working.

He added that the demand has his crew focused on two and three-lane roads, and when the snowfall slows down, he expects them to get to residential areas of town by midday Friday. People are encouraged to stay off the roads if they can, and drivers are encouraged to increase following distances and give road graders room to work.

Nov. 11 — 2:30 p.m.

Anchorage sets new daily snowfall record for Nov. 11

Thursday saw a steady snowfall that started the previous night and eventually led to a new daily snowfall record for the date of Nov. 11.

At the National Weather Service Forecast Office, they measured 8.3 inches of snow since midnight, breaking the previous record of 6.6 inches on Nov. 11 of 2007.

Already, storm reports show some incredible snowfall totals.

This graphic shows the normal and previous record snowfall totals for Nov. 11, as well as the...
This graphic shows the normal and previous record snowfall totals for Nov. 11, as well as the 8.3 inches that have fallen today, Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021 in Anchorage, Alaska.(Alaska's News Source Weather Team)

For example, 17 inches was reported at Abbott and Elmore Roads, 16 inches in East Anchorage, 15 inches for Upper Hillside, 14 inches in Eagle River, 13.5 at DeBarr and Boniface, and 12.7 inches at Huffman and New Seward Highway. Lesser, but still impressive snow amounts have been reported around Anchorage, and the snow was still falling into the afternoon.

In the past 10 years, Anchorage has seen just eight days where it snowed more than 8 inches in a 24-hour period. On average, the city receives one day per year with an 8-inch snowfall in a 24-hour period.

Snow will gradually taper off into the evening, but plan on slick roads and highways. Visibility will also likely be limited and drivers may be impacted by the powdery nature of the expected dry snow. And because it is Veterans Day ,some of the workers that are plowing the roads and highways were scheduled to have a day off.

Stay with Alaska’s Weather Source for updates on this incoming winter weather. Download the weather app here.

Nov. 11 — 12:45 p.m.

Snow to continue into the evening hours

Snow has yet to let up across the region, as the upper level trough is still off to our west. Generally, snow continues to fall across the Anchorage Bowl until the trough has exited to our east. As a result of this, winter weather alerts have been extended until 4 p.m. this afternoon. Storm totals are already exceeding a foot in many locations and it’s possible some locations could easily top out just over a foot and a half into Friday morning.

With snow still coming down, streets will be covered and difficult at times. Be cautious and take it easy. Plows are working overtime and will continue to work through the day and into the night.

Snow blankets a South Anchorage neighborhood Nov. 11, 2021.
Snow blankets a South Anchorage neighborhood Nov. 11, 2021.(Janice Bunting)

Nov. 11 — 11:55 a.m.

Small avalanche reported in Hatcher Pass

In Hatcher Pass, a small, loose dry avalanche was reported on Thursday. The avalanche occurred at 4,200 feet of elevation on upper Eldorado Bowl on an east northeast aspect. Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center forecasters reported that as much as 9 inches of new snow has accumulated in Hatcher Pass since Wednesday night. The avalanche forecast issued by Assistant avalanche specialist Jake Kayes noted that human triggered avalanches would be possible on terrain 40 degrees or steeper. An Extended Column Test conducted on lower Eldorado Bowl at 2,700 feet of elevation was posted on the center’s website.

Nov. 11 — 11 a.m.

Anchorage School District closes facilities

Schools in the Anchorage School District have closed for the day, starting at 11:30 a.m. Superintendent Deena Bishop announced the closures in an email to families and staff members. Students were not in class Thursday due to the Veterans Day holiday, but faculty were able to return home. Bishop said scheduled practices and rehearsals are cancelled, but community rentals and competitions will continue.

A ruler shows that over 15 inches of snow has fallen in the Muldoon area of Anchorage on Nov....
A ruler shows that over 15 inches of snow has fallen in the Muldoon area of Anchorage on Nov. 11, 2021.(Doug Dortch)

Nov. 11 — 7:40 a.m.

Up to a foot of snow has fallen across Southcentral

Overperforming — that’s the word of the day for the snow across Southcentral. Anchorage and the Matanuska Valley remain the sweet spot for snow, as many areas have seen in excess of eight inches of snow. Higher totals have fallen across East Anchorage and into Eagle River, but for all of us across Southcentral, this snow is helping establish our seasonal snow depth.

Thankfully no widespread power outages are being reported as a result of this snow. The biggest issues we’ll face through the day is reduced visibility as the snow is of a powdery consistency. This comes as the snow is falling through a column of air that is well below freezing. When this happens snow tends to have more air packed into it and less water, leading to the dry and fluffy snow that piles up quickly.

The sweet spot set up shop across Anchorage and south along the Seward Highway through the night. With temperatures well...

Posted by Meteorologist Aaron Morrison on Thursday, November 11, 2021

Dry snow tends to be problematic in that it leads to reduced visibility. Due to the light nature of the snow, it’s easily kicked up by traffic and can lead to whiteout conditions. Take it easy on the roads through the day and maintain a safe distance between you and the driver in front of you. Many areas across Southcentral have seen anywhere from five inches of snow to well over a foot of snow.

Nearly 9 inches of snow has fallen outside the station in Midtown
Nearly 9 inches of snow has fallen outside the station in Midtown(Alaska's News Source)

It’s possible that as the snow continues to pile up, we could see an additional three to six inches of snow across Anchorage and into the Valley. The highest snowfall totals will occur for areas along and north of Eagle River. Winter weather alerts continue for Anchorage, the Matanuska Valley and the Eastern Kenai Peninsula until noon.

Nearly a foot of snow has fallen at Lake Otis and Dearmoun Road in Anchorage
Nearly a foot of snow has fallen at Lake Otis and Dearmoun Road in Anchorage(Melissa Frey)

As the snow comes to an end into Friday, we’ll see colder air make a return to Southcentral. It’s highly possible we’ll struggle to climb out of the teens into the weekend with overnight lows in the single digits.

Nov. 10 — 6 p.m.

Heavy snow heading to Anchorage, eastern Kenai Peninsula Wednesday night

Southcentral Alaska is going to see a one-two punch of snow over the next 36 hours. Wednesday afternoon, just light snow is falling across the region, but that will pick up in intensity overnight heading into Thursday morning.

A Winter Weather Advisory will go into effect at 9 p.m. in Anchorage. This is likely to be a plow-able snowfall with 4 to 8 inches accumulation. Even heavier snow is expected to fall in the eastern Kenai Peninsula, where a Winter Storm Warning will start at 6 p.m. and continue through noon Thursday.

Snowfall amounts in this area will be heavy with accumulations between 8 and 14 inches. The heaviest snow is expected to fall along the Seward Highway from Seward north to Moose Pass and to Whittier. Snowfall rates could reach up to 2 inches per hour overnight.

Get your shovels and plows ready! We saw just a tease of light snow this afternoon, but the main event arrives late tonight. A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for Anchorage where 4-8" of snow is likely. Even heavier snow is expected to fall on the eastern Kenai Peninsula, where a Winter Storm Warning is in effect for 8-14". If you have any plans to travel on the Seward Highway from Seward to Anchorage be prepared for winter driving conditions including poor visibility and accumulating snow.

Posted by Melissa Frey on Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Plan on slick roads and highways. Visibility will also likely be limited and drivers may be impacted by the powdery nature of the expected dry snow.

Most of the snow will taper off Thursday, with clearing skies and even sunshine in the Friday forecast.

Stay with the Alaska’s Weather Source weather team for updates on this incoming winter weather. Download the weather app here.

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