Snow expected: Anchorage could tie 40-year-old record for earliest snowfall

Snow speckled Anchorage’s Hillside on Sept. 21, 2021. It didn’t fall at the airport, the official weather station for the National Weather Service. (Matthew Faubion/Alaska Public Media)

Parts of Anchorage could see up to a foot of snow starting Thursday evening, and the city might tie a long-held record for early snow, according to the National Weather Service

UPDATE: Was Friday a snow day in Anchorage? Not according to the National Weather Service

From 6 p.m. Thursday until Friday at 1 p.m, the weather service forecasts 6 to 12 inches of wet snow on the Anchorage Hillside and in the South Fork area of Eagle River.

“East Anchorage could see like 2 to 6 inches, and that could potentially accumulate on the roads,” Weather Service Meteorologist Adam Przepiora said. “But anything basically west of the Seward Highway, I think with the road temperatures being what they are right now, especially that they’re a little bit on the warmer side, I think it’s going to be tough to accumulate on the west side of town.” 

RELATED: Anchorage’s early snow unofficial but pleasing to zoo’s polar bears, otters

Officials say wet weather is expected across the Anchorage Bowl Thursday evening, with snowfall overnight. There’s a chance of heavy snowfall early Friday morning. Wet snow is expected before the afternoon, and then a rain and snow mix after. 

Officials advise commuters to take it slow Friday morning. That’s when the city is most likely to see the heaviest snowfall. 

Przepiora said snow shouldn’t stick around all day in most parts of Anchorage.

“From the lower Hillside westward, I think it would … melt during the day,” he said. “And then it would stick around on the Hillside, just because they’re getting those higher amounts up there.”

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Anchorage saw a bit of snow on Tuesday, though not at the spot where the weather service measures snow at Ted Stevens International Airport. If the airport sees an inch of snow Friday, it would tie a record for earliest measurable snowfall, though Przepiora said that’s in doubt. 

“I think the airport, it’s going to be tough to get an inch there,” he said. “There is the potential. And even still, I don’t know if they’ll accumulate an inch, just because of how warm the ground still is.”  

The earliest date on record for an inch of snowfall at the airport is Sep. 24, 1981.

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Wesley is a reporter for Alaska Public Media, covering primarily city government and Anchorage life. He previously worked at Alaska Public Media as a web editor, producer and education reporter before a two-year stint in Kotzebue, AK as News Director for KOTZ-AM.

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