The slide occurred at a time when forecasters in the region are cautioning backcountry skiers and snowboarders about the potential for warming weather to increase avalanche risk.
Snow dumped on Southcentral Alaska this weekend, with more than 8 inches falling in the Anchorage area and about 5 inches in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. A Climatologist says this weekend has led to a record amount of snowpack this late in the season.
The roof collapsed at a South Anchorage gym during a fitness competition. The Anchorage Office of Emergency Management cautioned residents that the city has had near-record snow conditions this winter, and residents should consider the snow load on their roofs. Officials also warned that property owners should exercise extreme caution if removing snow from their roofs themselves.
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.
Road crews say they’re still working to fully carve out the streets and haul snow away, after the city was hit with a trio of major storms this month. Some of Anchorage’s roads are maintained by the state of Alaska, and others by the city.
Anchorage and Mat-Su Borough schools and state offices are closed Thursday as a third major winter storm this month coated the area with snow overnight Wednesday. “In the past 11 days, we’ve had 41.1 inches of snow which is a lot for Anchorage,” Baines said.
All schools in Anchorage and the Mat-Su Borough are closed Wednesday due to slick roads across the region, as snowfall continues. “This is the heaviest snowfall the Anchorage area has seen in over 20 years,” said state Department of Transportation spokesman Justin Shelby. “Our crews are keeping up as best they can.”
The fire also comes as the state of Alaska enters its second highest level of fire preparedness, based on the high number of wildfires burning statewide and the possibility for more.
It’s not often that Southcentral Alaska residents wake to thunder in the middle of the night. But what forecasters are calling an unusual storm moved from the Talkeetna Mountains into the Matanuska Valley and then Anchorage and south to the Kenai Peninsula from Wednesday night into Thursday morning. At least one lightning-caused structure fire was reported.
Scott Keenan and his wife Ashlie moved to Anchorage from Sydney, Australia four years ago, and found there were no other apps to help them safely navigate around the new types of wildlife they started to encounter in Alaska. Repawts can help people share important information about wildlife sightings and receive safety alert notifications for anyone hitting the hiking trails, campsites and fishing spots around Alaska.
No residents had been reported injured or missing, and power had been restored to most impacted homes. City officials had also carved a path so residents can travel in the area by snowmachine.
Auto shops are seeing more business because of damaged tires, and drivers are often inching through a messy maze of bad road conditions. Road crews are making headway but still catching up from unfavorable weather last month.