2016 February Monthly Report
February started out with hazardous driving conditions reported on the Seward Highway due to rainy conditions on the 2nd and the 3rd. Wind advisories for up to 45 mph were issued for areas of the Dalton Highway, while wind, blowing snow, and reduced visibility warnings were published for Thompson Pass on the Richardson Highway on the 3rd. On the next day winter weather warnings were issued for most of the Panhandle with up to 60 mph winds and significant snowfall expected. Snowfall totaled 10.5" at Haines Custom station, while Annette reported wind gusts up to 63 mph. 59 mph was reported at Metlakatla and 55 mph at Hydaburg. The Homer area received up to 6" of snow the same day, and that snow moved into the Anchorage area the next day, creating hazardous driving conditions on area roads. Rain, snow and high winds were reported across the Southeast again on the 7th and 8th with Craig reporting 44 mph winds, and over 7" of snow in the Haines area.
Some Mat-Su schools were closed on the 11th due to freezing rain on Anchorage and Mat-Su area roads. High winds up to 50 mph were also expected along the eastern Alaska Range the same day. Also on the
11th a winter weather advisory was issued for the North Slope for up to 4" of snow and blowing snow from winds up 35 mph. This was upgraded to blizzard conditions the next day, and continued throughout the weekend. Point Thompson reported winds in excess of 62 mph. Other stations reporting high winds during the blizzard: Barrow (46 mph), Point Lay (48 mph), Deadhorse (53 mph), and Barter Island (48 mph).
Rain, sleet and snow were reported in Anchorage on the 13th. Winter storm warnings were issued for the Bering Strait Coast and St Lawrence Island for up to 8" of snow and winds up to 60 mph starting on the 16th and the blizzard conditions continued until the 18th. On the 17th St. Paul recorded winds up to 44 mph. Wind Chill warnings for -55°F were expected along the western Arctic Coast on the 19th.
High winds were reported along the southern Panhandle areas on the 20th, with winds gusting up to 60 mph on Prince of Wales Island. Snow and freezing rain again impacted the Southcentral area on the 21st. Stations from around Homer reported up to 30" of snow. The heavy snowfall prompted Avalanche warnings to be issued for the western Chugach Mountains. Avalanche hazard reduction work was performed along the Seward Highway the next couple days. As the storm pushed north, high wind warnings were broadcast for passes in the Alaska Range for gusts up to 65 mph. Warming temperatures the next few days resulted in small stream flood advisories for Kenai Peninsula areas south of Kenai.