Excessive snowfall rocked Alaska last month, blanketing the Last Frontier in near-record levels of snow. Three successive storms buffeted Anchorage, putting it well on the path towards setting snow records. The snow was so extreme that some dubbed the storms “Snowmageddon.” While the storms had a majorly negative effect on mobility and holiday plans, there’s one major positive to the snow: flu cases went down earlier than expected.
Snowmageddon Wreaks Havoc on Alaskan Roads
The first two weeks of December were record-setting for Alaska, especially in the Anchorage area. A series of three separate storms buffeted the area, leaving many parts under more than 4 feet of snow. By December 15, Anchorage was already reporting that the month was the fourth snowiest on record.
During this time, Juneau also announced that it had set a record for the wettest year in the city’s history. Anchorage hadn’t seen as much precipitation as it did in 2022 since the 1950s. In fact, across the entire state of Alaska, rainfall and other precipitation were incredibly high. The state recorded the fourth wettest year in its history in 2022.
All that precipitation throughout the year weakened Alaska’s roads, leaving them vulnerable even before Snowmageddon hit. When it did, it predictably forced people off the roads. This disrupted supply chain operations across the state and left people canceling all sorts of holiday travel plans.
Flu Curve Flattened by Storms
The good thing about these snow storms is that they forced people off the roads. Wait, isn’t that the thing we just said was bad? While closed roads are not good for the economy, there is one area in which they are actually helpful: virology.
Alaska’s flu season began ahead of schedule this year, leaving officials concerned about its impact on the state’s already strained hospital system. However, when Snowmageddon hit the state, people stayed home, keeping the spread of the flu and COVID-19 low. As a result, Alaska’s potentially destructive flu outbreak tapered off, leaving the state breathing a sigh of relief.