Puddles on ice, slippery sidewalks and heavy wet snow berms are remnants of a three-day weather event that pummeled Nome and the region. According to UAF Climate Specialist Rick Thoman, “that’s the highest three day total on record for Nome in March in the past 116 years.
Safeway on Mill Bay Road is the only large grocery store on the island. And store management expected the barge to bypass Kodiak after its last visit, with a resupply stop scheduled ahead of this past weekend. But snowstorms and gusty weather, including hurricane-force winds, scuttled those plans. “In my entire career, I’ve never seen two successive bypasses,” said Mike Murray, the store director of Kodiak’s Safeway.
The weekend was marked by cold sunny days and stunning aurora displays at night, but then the weather took another turn. By Tuesday morning, an east wind was howling and blowing snow sideways. The week started looking like a repeat of the last.
Rural areas here have begun facing water scarcity much before the onset of summer. Villagers are going long distances by bullock carts to collect water in plastic drums. Day temperature is already high.
"Just when I get into the machine, I just manage to sit in the seat and then the body of the excavator fills with slush and presses me against the window and then presses the whole machine off the road into the valley."
Just this month, more than 23 inches of snow have fallen in Anchorage, 17.5 inches above normal. A weekend storm clogged Anchorage streets, creating hazardous road conditions. The Anchorage School District closed school buildings and canceled after-school activities, calling a remote learning day.