2016 March Monthly Report
March started out with the second wildfire of the year reported in Mat-Su on the 1st.
Zero visibility and winds up to 35 mph were reported on the Dalton Highway on the 3rd as a blizzard impacted the area. Avalanche reduction efforts were done along the Klondike highway also on the 3rd, while downtown Juneau experienced winds up to 40 mph. With Anchorage having nearly no snow on the ground, the Iditarod Sled Dog Race planned a shortened ceremonial start in Anchorage, while Alaska Railroad was tapped to haul up to 350 cubic yards of snow from Fairbanks for the race start. Snow was finally reported in the Southcentral region on the 4th with the highest snowfall totals of 4" for Seldovia, and 3" for upper Potter Valley. The slush generated treacherous roads that caused more than 50 vehicle accidents in Anchorage on the 4th.
More blizzard conditions on the North Slope on the 7th impaired travel with winds up 40 mph and drifting snow for zero visibility. Travel was not advised along north portions of the Dalton highway, and work slowed on controlling the overflow along the Sag River. Hydaburg reported a wind gust of 61 mph on the 8th. The Eaglecrest ski area canceled its annual its Slush Cup event scheduled for the 10th, and planned to close on the 13th, however it ended up staying open one extra weekend. Avalanche reduction efforts were used on the Dalton Highway on the 13th between mileposts 235 and 250. A winter weather advisory was issued for areas of the Mat-Su for the 16th. Snowfalls totaled up 5" for the areas of Trapper Creek and Moose Creek, while Palmer observer 4". Fairbanks received a 1.8" of snow in the 15th, first snowfall over 1" since November 26th, 2015.
More snowfall on the 19th in Anchorage brought more vehicle accidents, with more than 50 reported. The Eagle River area received totals up to 11" and 6.4" was reported at the Anchorage International Airport. More snowfall in Southcentral area on the 28th resulted in totals of over 4" in Valdez and bringing the snowpack to 30". Avalanche control was performed along the Richardson Highway in Thompson Pass as well as the Parks Highway between mileposts 194 to 321 on the 29th. Mild weather in Southeast allowed the early opening of Montana Creek Road in Juneau on the 30th. The road is normally opened on May 1st. The Salcha wood cutting ice road was closed on the 31st due to deteriorating conditions due to the warmer than normal weather. Klawock, in Southeast reported a high of 71°F on the 31st. This is, preliminarily, the highest temperature ever recorded in Alaska in March, beating the 69°F from Ketchikan set on March 28th, 1915.