Record-Breaking 100-Inch Snowfall in Alaska Causes Roof Collapses



Anchorage, Alaska, is on track to break snowfall records after receiving over 100 inches of snowfall, the earliest this amount has been recorded, causing building collapses and school closures. The snow’s weight has reached more than 30 pounds a square foot, posing a risk to buildings, and has led to the collapse of three buildings already this year. Meanwhile, other areas of Alaska have experienced record-high temperatures alongside the heavy snowfall, leading to concerns about landslides and avalanches, and causing boat sinkings due to ice accumulation in harbors.

Record-Breaking Snowfall Blankets Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska is set to smash snowfall records as the city is blanketed with over 100 inches of snow, the earliest accumulation of such an amount. The heavy snowfall has resulted in roof collapses and school closures.

After a weekend snowfall of nearly 16 inches, the city’s total for this winter season stands at over 8½ feet. This is the second year in which the 100-inch mark has been broken. If the trend continues, Anchorage could surpass its historical record of 134½ inches, recorded in winter 2011.

“We’re at the most snow for the season today,” stated Brian Brettschneider, a local climate scientist for the National Weather Service. “We were up to 104.3 inches, and we’d never hit this amount before the end of January.”

With snow depth already at 37 inches, Brettschneider noted that even with minimal additional snowfall, this winter would still rank among the top five snowiest winters.

The record-breaking snowfall is proving challenging for the city, with three buildings collapsing so far this year. City officials issued a snow removal notice, warning residents of the potential threat of heavy snow causing further roof collapses.

The weight of the snow has reached over 30 pounds per square foot, posing a significant threat to structures. Brettschneider revealed that the weather service office’s roof was already bearing a weight of 36½ pounds, just below the building code limit.

Efforts to Clear Roof Snow Intensify

Many Anchorage residents, like construction worker Henry Lucas, have been working tirelessly to clear dangerous roof snow. Lucas is among those preferring to wait for help before tackling his own roof, due to the height and potential risks involved.

Due to the harsh weather, Anchorage schools initiated remote learning and the city experienced temperatures below zero. Mayor Dave Bronson declared a public health and safety emergency due to the extreme weather.

Record High Temperatures in Other Parts of Alaska

While Anchorage struggles with snow, other parts of Alaska are experiencing record-breaking temperatures. Sitka Airport recorded 54 degrees on Sunday, a new high, while Ketchikan Airport tied its record of 55 degrees.

Despite these highs, Brettschneider mentioned that the state is experiencing its coldest days in four years on average. The capital, Juneau, also experienced a record high of 46 degrees just days after a winter storm warning was issued.

Heavy snow combined with these record temperatures pose threats of landslides and avalanches. City officials in Juneau issued warnings to residents after two avalanches blocked a local intersection.

Ice Accumulation Causes Boat Sinkages

Juneau’s harbors have also been affected as ice accumulation caused at least four boats to sink. Salvage operations are already underway, as reported by harbor officials on Facebook.

Despite the challenges, many Alaskans are making the most of the snow. In Anchorage, it has allowed the return of “Snowzilla,” a giant snowman tradition. The snowfall also brought winter sports right to residents’ backyards, creating a festive atmosphere.

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