Freezing Rain Sweeps Through Much of Alaska

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

Icy roads have made travel treacherous and resulted in a slew of accidents on Alaska roads, as warm air and rain push across the region. Alaska State Trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters says the ice has made for busy day for public safety officers.

Peters says no fatalities had been reported as of noontime. State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Meadow Bailey says maintenance crews are out trying to increase traction by hitting roads with a mixture of sand and salt.

National Weather Service lead forecast in Fairbanks Rick Thoman says roads retain cold and quickly ice up as rain hits them, but that air temperatures hovering at or above freezing should prevent trees and power lines from picking up heavy ice.   Typical wintertime warm ups are dry in the interior, as moisture is pulled from warm air as it rises over the Alaska Range, but Thoman says the current system is very unusual, setting up the region for a rare winter soaking.

Thoman says the system is affecting almost the entire state, except for along the Yukon Territory border, and the southeast panhandle, where it’s cooler and drier. He says the deep southerly air flow hitting the rest of Alaska is not typical of the current La Nina pattern.

Freezing rain advisories are posted from the Kenai Peninsula to the North Slope. Gov. Sean Parnell’s office directed state employees to stay home if they were not already at work.

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