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KNBA News - Record for lack of snow broken over the weekend, new record for warmth may be set

Feb. 23, 2016

Anchorage sets new record of 37 days without snow

By The Associated Press

A nearly 60-year-old record for no snowfall in Anchorage went down over the weekend. National Weather Service meteorologist Dave Snider confirmed that Saturday night was the 37th day in a row without snow for Anchorage. The previous record was set in 1958 when no snow fell from January 21st to February 25th.

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Risk of flooding on the Kenai Peninsula rises, while Alaska goes without extreme cold

By Quinton Chandler, KBBI –Homer, and Dan Bross, KUAC - Fairbanks

Areas of the Southern Kenai Peninsula reported between 12 to 30 inches of snowfall over the weekend in addition to heavy rain showers.  Rebecca Duell, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Anchorage, says rain and rising temperatures are predicted to melt the snow and create slippery conditions. And she says there’s an added danger of flooding on the Kenai Peninsula south of Kenai.

“We will be monitoring the rivers. Right now we don’t have reports of flooding but when you are getting this much melting after this much snow pack, it is a situation that tends to [cause] quite a bit of flooding,” said Duell.

This winter’s warmer than normal weather could set an Alaska record.

National Weather Service Alaska region climate science and services manager Rick Thoman points to a lack of extreme cold temperatures across the state.

“Looking at all the FAA airport stations, the Weather Service stations, the lowest temperature reported so far has been 47 below at Arctic Village,” said Thoman. “And, in the past century, Alaska has not had a winter when someplace reported a  low of at least of 52 below and almost all winters someone gets a t least  55 below.”

Thoman says a strong El Nino which more prominently drove this winter’s weather, is waning, but  expected to continue to help keep temperatures above normal across Alaska  for the rest of the winter.

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Heavy Snowfall Brings High Avalanche Danger in Turnagain Pass

By Jennie Neyman, KDLL – Kenai

After the weekend’s storm, the Kenai Mountains were loaded with as much as 4 feet of snow, which poses significant avalanche danger. Yesterday along Turnagain Arm, the Sterling Highway was closed in spots on and off from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for avalanche mitigation work between Girdwood and Portage, with delays up to 45 minutes.

Up in Turnagain Pass, the Summit Lake area and surrounding mountains, avalanche danger is high from the weekend storm. Wendy Wagner, a forecaster for the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center, said on Monday that it’s a good day for skiers, snowboarders and snowmachiners to stay off the mountains.

“It was quite a day in the mountains yesterday as a mini-snowpocalypse rolled through with 3 to 4 feet of snow in about 30 hours,” said Wagner. “Today, the storm has abated but dangerous avalanche conditions still exist.”*

The storm is termed a rapid loading event, with heavy snow dumping on top of already weak surfaces. Cornices are particularly liable to fail, especially with continued easterly winds of 20 to 30 mph further building cornices and loading slopes.

“After a storm like we just had, cornices should have grown, be on the verge of falling and could trigger very large avalanches below that could run to valley bottoms,” said Wagner.

Wagner said it could take a while for the snowpack to stabilize.

“How long it will take the new and old snow interface to bond is a big uncertainty and very conservative terrain choices will be necessary as we move into the week,” said Wagner. “In the event there is a true break in weather and the sun comes out, the sun can act to destabilize the pack, as well.”*

The avalanche advisory is updated daily by 7 a.m. at the avalanche information center’s website. Updates on highway road conditions and advisories can be found at 511.alaska.gov.

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Delta Junction residents see 2016’s first wildfire  

By The Associated Press

A lack of snow in interior Alaska helped the state's first wildfire of 2016 to burn on open tundra.

The Alaska Division of Forestry says in a statement that the fire started and was extinguished Monday on military land about 10 miles south of Delta Junction.

The agency says the fire was started by live-fire training. Firefighters from the Fort Greely Fire Department extinguished the fire.

Officials didn't know how many acres were burned, and planned to travel to the site Tuesday to determine the size of the fire.

The lack of snow cover and winds of 25 mph helped the fire spread, and smoke was visible from Delta Junction.

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Multi-agency effort adds job-readiness courses to Mountain View Job Center services

By Joaqlin Estus, KNBA – Anchorage

State, municipal, and nonprofit organizations are working together to add to the range of services offered at the Mountain View Jobs Center, according to a statement by the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The center plans to add regular job-readiness courses such as resume preparation, and computer and financial literacy, to existing services. The change utilizes existing staff and comes at no additional cost to the state of Alaska. The City of Anchorage, state Department of Labor, Mountain View Library, Anchorage Community Land Trust, and Alaska Housing Finance Corporation are collaborating in the effort.