Ice Coats Southcentral; Snow, Ice Expected Overnight

Graphic courtesy of the National Weather Service.
Graphic courtesy of the National Weather Service.

Freezing rain created hazardous driving conditions across Southcentral Alaska today and the roads aren’t much better tonight.

Freezing rain began coating snow at around 9 a.m. By noon cars were stranded across Anchorage and the People Mover Bus system shut down.

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Anchorage Police Department Spokesperson Anita Shell says icy road conditions caused traffic problems.

“The majority of our crashes were occurring in the morning hours up until about 2 o’clock. It seems like it’s tapered off right now for the moment,” Shell said. “We’ve had reported 30 accidents today. Three additional accidents that had minor injuries and then 46 vehicles in distress. Most of those ended up in the ditch or some other method of breakdown.”

People Mover buses resumed their regular schedules around 3 o’clock after suspending service for more than three hours. Officials say riders should expect significant delays and reroutes and they urge riders to be careful walking to and from bus stops.

Icy conditions stretch beyond Anchorage from Seward to as far North as Talkeetna. The Valley Mover Bus system in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley is operating on a delayed schedule and plans to make evening runs to help people get back home from work in Anchorage.

Some 65 road incidents in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley were called into Alaska State Troopers by 1 p.m. today, according to a spokesperson for Alaska State Troopers.

The Matsu Borough says there were at least three separate school bus accidents this morning, including one where the bus slid onto its side off a road. There were 14 students on board. Three students reportedly suffered minor injuries.

After school activities are canceled in the Mat-Su School District and in Anchorage. Both districts advise delays are likely for school busses transporting students home.

University of Alaska Anchorage closed at noon.

Matanuska Electric Association reports 500 members are without power in Butte, Meadow Lakes, and the area from Sutton to Matanuska Glacier. Officials say the outage was a combination of icy and windy weather and they are working to get the power back on.

A winter weather advisory remains in effect for snow in Anchorage overnight and for snow and freezing rain in Wasilla and Glenn Allen.

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Daysha Eaton, KMXT - Kodiak
Daysha Eaton is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network. Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage. Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email. Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.