After December’s warm spell came Icemageddon — Analysis
Alaska experienced severe weather from Christmas. An unusually warm weekend resulted in freezing rains and snowstorms.
A late December warm spell has caused chaos in Alaska, as moisture-soaked winds bombarded the US state with heavy precipitation, causing what the authorities dubbed an “Icemageddon.”
The temperatures in Alaska’s coast reached new heights last week. They reached 67F on Kodiak Island (21.4C), setting an all-time record in December. They broke again the benchmark of 60F (15.5C) on Monday before beginning to fall on Tuesday.
Due to the unusual heat, the air was able to accumulate more moisture than normal from the Pacific and then drop it into the inland environment as rain or snow. The weather station at the Denali National Park was “literally buried” by a record pileup of snow, the Fairbanks branch of the National Weather Service tweeted.
Denali National Park Headquarters Cooperative observer meteor equipment is literally submerged! This month has seen 74.5 inches of snow, which makes it the most snowy December on record. Previous record: 66.3 ins. Dec 1984. (Photo courtesy Denali NP pic.twitter.com/zCoQUDxjZ3
— NWS Fairbanks (@NWSFairbanks) December 29, 2021
The precipitation came with torrential winds and other hazards, prompting the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities to dubSituation on roads “Icemaggedon.”
Many areas were hit with rain that fell onto roads at sub-zero temperatures, where it quickly frozen and bonded to the surfaces. It was said that the icing was stronger than cement and was impossible to remove due to continued low temperatures.
Combine this with the low visibility caused by blizzards made many roads dangerous, even for vehicles that are equipped for winter driving. Residents were advised by authorities to avoid unnecessary travel in order to reduce traffic and to allow for the clearing of highways.
12-28-21 Kotzebue (Alaska), around 2 pm. This weather was fast and heavy, 12 d.Fah (-11 C), winds 40 MPH (65 Kmh), more snow to shovel pic.twitter.com/HKxuU3PLzZ
— Tundrabilly ❄☃️🇺🇸 (@tammaq13) December 29, 2021
Reports also indicated that there were limited power outages and roofs collapsing due to accumulation of snow.
Fairbanks’ rain and snow tried to freeze the vehicle in the street. The bumper and tires were both frozen to the ground. Dug her out last night & thankfully a neighbor stopped to help push. Alaska’s December weather is strange pic.twitter.com/mkaU6pCXFE
— Jeremy M (@JeremyAK907) December 28, 2021
At this point all our normal *annual* snow benchmark features are useless because they’re completely buried. Here Layla is clearing out the paths from some of the 8 inches we got *last night*. pic.twitter.com/uzGXD7hY6m
— Orion Lawlor (@AlaskaLawlor) December 29, 2021
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