As some snow arrives, the temperatures increase, but so does the avalanche risk

A little light snow for Anchorage Sunday afternoon. Steadiest, heaviest snows stay in the mountains south and east.
Published: Jan. 7, 2023 at 11:09 PM AKST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The heavy snows over New Year’s weekend followed by temperatures nearly 15 degrees above normal for the first few days of 2023 have made for a moderate to considerable risk of avalanches throughout the Chugach Mountains. In fact, several large avalanches, both man-made and natural, have occurred throughout the mountain range this week. Wendy Wagner from the Chugach Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) reported to Alaska’s News Source that a skier was caught in a large avalanche on Saturday, and fortunately that person is OK. John Sykes, also from the CAIC says “We recommend conservative terrain selection and decision-making in the mountains.”

A disturbance moving along the Gulf coast from Southeast Alaska will move inland over the western Prince William Sound and eastern Kenai Peninsula on Sunday. The mountains in these locations may receive up to a foot of additional snowfall. These same mountains will prevent much of the system’s moisture from falling over the Anchorage area and the western Kenai, although there appears to be enough energy to allow for some scattered snow showers, or even a very brief period of light snow, late Sunday afternoon through the evening. Any accumulation for Anchorage, if at all, will generally be around and inch for the hillside, but less than an inch the farther west one moves across town.

After the system passes, downsloping southeasterly winds will allow for temperatures to rise to near 20 degrees late Sunday evening, then generally hold there through the overnight hours. Monday will see a mixture of sun and clouds with high temperatures back to normal for early to mid-January with highs in the middle 20s.