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2012 March Monthly Report


Highlights

The combination of very cold temperatures, heavy snowfall and in part, strong winds, resulted in dangerous conditions at times. On the 2nd March a travel advisory was issued for the Steese and Elliott Highways, north of Fairbanks. In Anchorage, a warning was given on the 5th March by the mayor's office, due to a heavy snow load. Several, mostly flat roofs failed, built predominantly prior to 1980, caved under the strain. The roof of the Abbott Loop Community Church failed and the church was declared, "unsafe to occupy". Heavy snowfall in the night from the 5th to the 6th in the Fairbanks area caused a number of accidents, mostly on the Richardson Highway. A travel advisory was given for the Parks Highway on 6th of March, and heavy snowfall continued through the night. On the 9th, blowing snow in the elevated areas of the Elliott Highway made traveling difficult and the Steese Highway at Eagle Summit Pass was shut down to traffic. In Anchorage, the roof of an Alaska Railroad Storage Building collapsed on the 10th due to the heavy snow load, but nobody was hurt. On the 13th, a large avalanche killed two people while Heli-skiing at the Takhin Ridge near Haines and on the 17th another roof (VA Clinic) collapsed under the snow load in East Anchorage. The snowfall in Anchorage was 129.3" on the 19th, only 3.3" below the maximum snowfall ever experienced during a winter.

On 19th March, spring officially arrive in Alaska. With a low temperature of -20°F in Fairbanks, it did not feel like it. However, on the 27th March, the first geese were spotted in the Big Delta area, a sure sign that spring is on its way.