We got our first snow on October 1, and essentially we have had snow since that day. It is my understanding that Alaska often gets snow in the winter, so you would think the city of Anchorage would be rather efficient when it comes to plowing streets.
That is not the case. I have been told there is a “system” for getting the roads plowed in Anchorage, and from my observation it goes like this:
“Sometimes we will plow the roads, and other times we won’t. If there is a lot of snow at any one time, we promise to get to your road within 3 days. If there is a light covering of snow we will be out there in a couple of hours and we will drag the grater along the pavement showering sparks.”
I live less than 3 miles from downtown Anchorage. This is not a remote area. After 3 days, there have been hundreds of cars driving over the snow on the streets and you know what happens then…yep, snow gets packed down.
Well, we have had a lot of snow this winter, and many many days where the roads were not plowed (at a major intersection near our house there was an ice blob in the turn lane that was 8 inches tall at it’s peak, lovely). Consequently, there was about 2 inches of packed snow on any of the side streets in town.
On Tuesday evening, after 2 weeks of below zero temps (way below, -20-30, warming all the way up to -15 during the day), a Chinook wind blew in. These happen once in a while, and they warm things up. This one REALLY warmed things up.
Overnight the temps rose to 40+. and it started raining, and blowing, and raining some more.
Guess what happened. Uh huh, things started to melt, and fast. Well, except the 2 inches of really hard packed ice on our roads. that just got covered with an inch or so of water. During the day. Then at night, the temp has been dropping again, to about 32+, just enough to freeze.
So, we haven’t had school for the last 2 days, and no one is going anywhere. The mail hasn’t even been delivered in our neighborhood.
Tonight it is supposed to rain and then snow as the temp drops into the low to mid 30’s overnight. Right now it is 44 and raining.
I live in East Anchorage, a little ways in from the ocean, so we get a sheltered a bit from the winds and extremes of this Chinook, but a friend on the Hillside said that the winds in her neighborhood was blowing steady at about 60 miles per hour, with gusts over 100 mph. Our winds are holding it down a bit here, just about 30mph.
So here is a picture of the road in front of my cute little house: