Anchorage schools remain closed as another winter storm hits

A truck driving in the dark. largely obscured by heavy falling snow.
Crews begin clearing the heavy snowfall during the early morning hours of Dec. 12, 2022 as more snow falls during the second of two large storms to hit the Anchorage area this month. (Valerie Kern, Alaska Public Media)

Schools in Anchorage, the Mat-Su Borough and much of the Kenai Peninsula Borough are closed Monday, as an unusually strong winter storm continues to blanket the region with snow.

Full closures for the Anchorage School District and Mat-Su Borough School District were announced overnight Sunday, with a decision on Anchorage after-school activities pending by noon. The University of Alaska Anchorage and Alaska Pacific University also closed classes due to poor road conditions.

Anchorage schools have not reopened since last week’s storm closed them on Wednesday.

National Weather Service meteorologist Pam Szatanek said the service’s West Anchorage office received more than a foot of snow overnight, following the storm’s Sunday arrival.

“We actually got over 15 inches at the office tonight, and we broke a snow record yesterday,” she said.

The weekend storm comes just days after a system that hit parts of Anchorage with more than 2 feet of snow overnight Tuesday, leaving Anchorage schools closed as road crews worked around the clock to clear streets and sidewalks.

According to Szatanek, this week’s storm is the result of a moisture plume more than 500 miles wide and 2,000 miles long reaching Alaska.

“We had an atmospheric river come from the central Pacific, so literally the moisture was coming from Hawaii,” she said. “It was an anomaly — it was really strong.”

Weather radar was still tracking additional snow over the Anchorage Bowl, Cook Inlet and the Kenai Peninsula, with more snowfall expected Monday.

“We think we may get another two to three inches but we think we’re on the back side of the storm, thank goodness,” she said.

Another storm system is expected to reach the area later this week, Szatanek said, with forecasters still assessing its strength.

Alaska Public Media

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