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.”
More than 1,000 domestic poultry and hundreds of wild birds have died or needed to be euthanized in the state since early spring. Since the first case of a deadly strain of avian flu was detected in Alaska in May, more than 1,000 domestic poultry and hundreds of wild birds have died or needed to be euthanized.