Heavy snow, strong winds cause ‘difficult’ travel for Cooper River Basin, Thompson Pass

Blizzard conditions with poor to no visibility to continue through early Thursday morning
Heavy snow, strong winds cause ‘difficult’ travel for Cooper River Basin, Thompson Pass
Published: Oct. 12, 2022 at 8:20 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A well-developed and moisture-laden storm system moving north out of the Gulf of Alaska toward the eastern side of Prince William Sound continued to bring snow, heavy at times, along with gusty winds to the mountainous terrain north of the Sound and across the Copper River Basin late Wednesday.

Snow started falling Wednesday morning and began accumulating quickly on the Glenn, Richardson, and Edgerton Highways. By evening, Alaska 511 webcams were showing snow-packed and covered roads along with signs of blowing and drifting causing “difficult” road conditions, according to their website.

Travelers have been advised to “Be prepared for winter driving, [to] drive with headlights on [as there’s a] slippery road surface.” Additionally, snow removal equipment is on the roadway, with a reminder to stay back 200 feet from snowplows.

The National Weather Service (NWS) says a blizzard warning remains in effect until 1 a.m. Thursday for Thompson Pass — where winds since Wednesday afternoon have been sustained between 45 and 55 mph, gusts to 65 mph, and visibilities consistently below 1 mile, and down to near white-out at times. By the storm’s end on Thursday morning, it is expected that anywhere from 8 to 16 inches of new snow will be on the ground.

The NWS also continues a winter storm warning for the remainder of the Copper River Basin near Glacier View, eastward through Glennallen, northward through Isabel Pass, and south to Thompson Pass until 10 a.m. Thursday. In these locations, accumulations will total 6 to 12 inches. Lighter wind gusts of 20-30 mph are expected, blowing and drifting. Reduced visibilities will not be as significant as those occurring in Thompson Pass.

The storm system is expected to move northeastward out of the area and across the Canadian border on Thursday. Snow will come to an end across the area from west to east by mid to late Thursday morning. Blustery winds of 10-20 mph behind the storm will continue to cause some additional blowing and drifting into Thursday evening, as well as colder temperatures in the teens at night to the mid-30s during the afternoon.

The snow won’t stick around long. The next storm system moving into Southcentral this coming weekend will have plenty of warm air associated with it to bring mostly rain to the region.