Alaska’s largest city declares ‘snow emergency’ after record snowfall – 65 inches in less than 24 hours at Thompson Pass


A winter storm dropped record snowfall amounts in Anchorage, Alaska, with some areas outside of Anchorage proper receiving more than 2 feet of snowfall in just two days.

East of Anchorage, Richardson Highway over Thompson Pass (MP 19-63) was closed due to heavy snowfall and wind from the storm. © Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities
East of Anchorage, Richardson Highway over Thompson Pass (MP 19-63) was closed due to heavy snowfall and wind from the storm.

The largest city in Alaska broke its daily snowfall record on Wednesday when 9 inches of snow fell in 24 hours. For context, the previous record for Nov. 8 was 7.3 inches set in 1982. Another 8.2 inches piled up on Thursday, which also broke the daily record of 7.1 inches set on Nov. 9, 1956. That brought Anchorage’s two-day total to 17.2 inches of snow.

By late Thursday, Anchorage had a 21-inch snow depth, or the total amount of snow on the ground. This was Anchorage’s greatest snow depth for so early in the season, according to Alaska-based climatologist Brian Brettschneider. Already, 26.6 inches of snow has fallen in Anchorage this season, which is 17.5 inches above the average snowfall to date for Nov. 9.

The image above shows the amount of snowfall to the east of Anchorage along Richardson Highway over Thompson Pass on Wednesday. FOX Weather Winter Weather Expert Tom Niziol said 65 inches of snow fell in less than 24 hours at Thompson Pass during this winter storm. This 65-inch report was less than 10 miles from where Alaska’s 24-hour snowfall record of 78 inches was set on Feb. 9, 1963, according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

Snow totals from Matanuska-Susitna Valley, which lies northwest of Anchorage proper, ranged from 9.5 inches near Wasilla to 15.5 inches near Butte, the National Weather Service in Anchorage said on X. The community of Eagle River saw over 18 inches of snow, while more than 25 inches of snow was measured just south of the Anchorage suburb.

Anchorage resident Stephen Richardson recorded video of the snowfall between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. local time on Thursday. He said he received about 18 inches of snow, which is being plowed by a tractor in Richardson’s footage.

On Thursday, Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson declared a snow emergency.

“Snow accumulation was greater than what was forecasted, and due to the heavy snow, several fallen trees have been reported,” said the mayor’s office. “Street maintenance operations has responded to 40 downed trees in the last 15 hours.”

Such heavy snowfall across Anchorage led to power outages, along with school and road closures, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

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  1. Seriously, what do you expect when living in the Northern hemisphere when winter comes around??? Living in rural BC Canada, which is south east of Alaska, half way up a mountain, a few feet of snow and MORE is normal and something one expects every year. Being snowed in for months, due to main roads being most important to get cleared. This is something we take into consideration every winter and prepare thereafter. Electric goes out? So?? Wood heating stove and propane up the wazoo… Make paths/trails to be able to tend to the animals. Actually, I quite enjoy it, as it is so quiet and peaceful. More people need to get prepared for this kind of stuff and not just move to whatever location and gripe about the weather. Research first and prep accordingly!

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