Anchorage broke its record of snowfall this year, having been covered by over 100 inches of snow. This record was broken as that happening at this point in the years marks it as the earliest time this has ever occurred. The snowfall has been so aggressive this year that roofs have been broken and schools have no choice but to close. Over this last weekend, over 16 inches of snow fell, in just two days. This brings the total amount of snow so far this year to 102 inches, which equates to about 8.5 feet. This is only the second time in history over 100 inches of snow have covered the Alaskan floor in one winter season. The first, record breaking occurrence occurred in the winter of 2011. That year the record peaked at around 134.5 inches of snow. This was a little over 11 feet of snow.
Based on the way snow is falling so far, the state is on track to break that record.
Experts have said that if the snowfall stopped right now, this winter would still be in the list of top five snowiest winters. Some would even argue that this winter takes the top spot, and everyone may just agree with that since the snow has not slowed down.
Just this year, which is not even through with January, Anchorage has lost three buildings due to collapse from the heavy weight of snow on the roof. The city released a snow removal notice in light of growing concerns of the weight of snow and in the notice warned that at least 500-1,000 city buildings are at risk of collapse.
Per square foot, the snow has reached an estimated weight of 30 pounds.
This weight is due to the continuous snow fall, creating a constant flow of building layers on the snow, compacting in together and increasing the density and weight. Based on this estimate, a building with a roof of 1,500 square is estimated to be carrying a weight that is equivalent to “eight full size light duty pickup trucks.” This was written out in the snow removal notice as well.
Residents are trying their best to clear of their roofs, some neighbors working together to clear of each other’s roofs. Furthermore, schools have had no choice but to be closed. Some are holding classes still, but in a remote format, rather than in person. Overall, everyone is struggling with adjusting and planning through this harsh winter.