A Seward Highway avalanche closed the road for much of the day Friday. It was between Bird Creek and the Portage turnoff. The avalanche severed the only road access between Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula for more than eight hours.
The Seward Highway avalanche hit at Mile 91.5 and the debris on the roadway was up to 15 feet high in spots, said a spokesperson for the DoT. The highway reopened around 2 p.m. but drivers should remain cautious.
“Travel is going to be wet and slick and bumpy. They’ve cleared all the snow but it’s definitely not down to dry highway measures by any means.”
Crews set off artillery to trigger 20 other avalanches along the highway on Friday. Also on Friday, several snow slides closed the Old Glenn Highway near the Old Knik River Bridge.
Farther north, snow slides near Summit Lake closed the Richardson Highway from mile 186 to 218.
The Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center also warned of very dangerous avalanche conditions in the area. It issued an avalanche warning early Friday, and it says the Hatcher Pass Road will be closed at mile 11 through the weekend due to avalanche activity.
National Weather Service meteorologist Michael Kutz said Anchorage has been having one of the wettest years on record so far. Snowfall this February is nearly three times higher than average, and rainfall this year is more than four times above normal, Kutz said.
Rain and Snow in Anchorage
Rain and snow have been falling in Anchorage and other areas of Southcentral since the beginning of the week. Which has led to treacherous road conditions in parts of town. Areas of the Mat-Su have been hit with heavy snow. Power to thousands of homes has been knocked out.
As of Friday evening, about 300 homes still did not have power. The Mat-Su school district canceled in-person classes on Friday for the third day in a row due to road conditions and winter weather.