Record Snow Aims for Anchorage

March 23, 2012; 6:04 AM
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In this March 8, 2012, photo, a woman hurries by a cow moose browsing the frosted branches of an ornamental tree in the the parking lot of the Boney Courthouse in Anchorage, Alaska. Anchorage is on its way to breaking its all-time snow record and is just a few inches shy of going in the history books as the snowiest winter. (AP Photo/Dan Joling, file)

The annual snowfall record in Anchorage is being challenged late this week as a storm aims for south-central Alaska.

A storm plowing into the Bering Sea will reorganize over the northern coast of the Gulf of Alaska Friday into Friday night.

While the storm itself will not be huge, it may be enough to crash Anchorage's annual snowfall record.

According to Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski, "As of March 22, 2012, snowfall in the City of Lights and Flowers stands at 129.4 inches. The annual snowfall record for the city is 132.6 inches."

Anchorage has already received their normal snowfall for March, and they still have over a week to go.

In addition, the city typically receives several inches of snow during April.

"If the storm coming Friday into the first part of the weekend doesn't deliver the 3.3 inches of snow to break the record, there's still a good chance it will be broken before the snow season ends in early May," Pydynowski said.

The upcoming storm is forecast to bring a general 1 to 3 inches of snow, but amounts in the area will vary quite a bit as they always do because of local effects produced by the highly varied terrain.

Both giant storms and consistent lesser events over the winter have buried south-central Alaska in yards of snow. The hardest-hit areas have been along the north shore of the Gulf of Alaska.

It's Cold Too

It's not warm everywhere.

According to Senior Meteorologist Jim Andrews, "It's cold even by Alaska standards."

Winter is hanging on over much of the state, despite the warmth in the eastern two-thirds of the lower 48 states and the Canada Prairies.

Temperature departures in Anchorage for March thus far are nearly 7 degrees below normal. In Fairbanks, the departure is around 9 degrees below normal, and in Nome, it is over 14 degrees below normal.

Indications are the colder-than-average air will hang on through at least the end of the month in most of Alaska.

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