16 February 2024

HomeLatest NewsRoofs fall as over 100-inch Alaska snow breaks records

Roofs fall as over 100-inch Alaska snow breaks records

Roofs fall as Alaska snow of more than 100 inches breaks records

Roofs fall as over 100-inch Alaska snow breaks records

ALASKA CITY: (Web Desk) Alaska is on track to break snowfall records after Anchorage was blanketed with more than 100 inches − the earliest accumulation ever of that amount − collapsing roofs and closing schools.

The city, which was hit with almost 16 inches of snow over the weekend, has now had more than 8½ feet this winter, the second year to break the 100-inch mark. If the trend continues, Anchorage could break its all-time record of 134½ inches recorded in the winter of 2011.

“We’re at the most snow for the season today,” said Brian Brettschneider, an Alaska-based climate scientist for the National Weather Service. “We were up to 104.3 inches, and we’d never hit this amount before the end of January before.”

Snow on the ground already reached a depth of 37 inches, Brettschneider said. “Even if we have the least amount of snow that we’ve ever had from this point for the rest of the winter, that would still leave us in the top five snowiest winters.”

The stunning levels of precipitation have been a challenge for the snow-hardened city, leading to the collapse of three buildings already this year. And city officials warned of the persistent danger of heavy snow piling onto roofs, estimating in a snow removal notice posted last week that 500 to 1,000 city buildings have “roof trusses of immediate concern.”

The snow’s weight reached more than 30 pounds a square foot, meaning a 1,500-square-foot roof would be supporting the weight of “eight full size light duty pickup trucks,” according to the notice.

Brettschneider said the snow on the roof of the weather service office had already reached 36½ pounds, just 3½ pounds under local building code requirements. “Certainly, we’ve had isolated problems with roof collapses,” he said.

Many Anchorage residents worked to clear off the potentially dangerous roof snow.

Henry Lucas volunteered to help his elderly neighbors. “They have a really wide house,” Lucas told USA TODAY. “It doesn’t have very much pitch to the roof.”

Lucas, 33, a construction worker, would rather wait for help to clear his own roof. “I need to have someone here with me. I don’t want to do it by myself, just because it’s high up.”

Anchorage schools kept children home on Monday for a remote learning day. The city was also chilled to double-digit below-zero temperatures, and forecasts called for lows of minus 21 degrees this week.

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