2017 February Monthly Report
Winds up to 63 mph were reported near Juneau on the 2nd due to a storm in the Southeast, while minor wind damage was reported near Ketchikan on the 3rd. The 5th of the month brought to a total of five years since Barrow had seen temperatures at or below -40°F, the longest stretch on record. Hazardous driving conditions were reported along the Dalton Highway on the 8th due to high winds, drifting snow, and low visibility. Difficult trail conditions along the Iditarod sled dog race trail by the 11th resulted in the move of the restart of the race from Wasilla to Fairbanks for March 6th. Haines reported more than a foot of snow on the 11th, while wind gust up to 44 mph were reported at Sitka. More than a foot of snow fell on the Richardson Highway near Glennallen on the 13th.
Rain and rising temperatures on the 14th results in difficult driving conditions and avalanche danger in the Southcentral area and four schools were closed in the Mat-Su Borough. Avalanche reduction work was performed on the Seward Highway along Turnagain Arm, and backcountry avalanche warnings were issued for Kenai and Chugach Mountains.
The Klondike Highway was closed on the 14th, while hazardous driving conditions were reported along the Edgerton, Dalton, Richardson and Seward Highways. On the 15th hazardous driving conditions were reported on the Dalton Highway, and the Klondike Highway was closed again. More than 6" of snow on the Seward Highway near Seward on the 17th made for difficult driving.
Stormy weather on the 22nd resulted in blizzard conditions at Toksook Bay with wind speeds up to 47 mph. More than 8" of snow fell at Kenai. Two-day snowfall totals for areas of the Interior on the 24th were: 9.6" at Fairbanks, 9.5" at Two Rivers, 9.4" at College Hills", 13.0" at Chandalar Camp, 7.7" at Fox, 10.1" at Nome", 12.0" at Kiana and Noatak. All the snow resulted
in hazardous driving conditions along the Dalton and Elliott Highways on the 24th and 25th. On the 26th, the totals for the three days of snow were: 17.1" at the Fairbanks airport, 11.2" at Upper Chena River, 9.6" and at McKinley Park. On the 26th the Steese and Dalton Highways were closed due to the snow, while the next day the Elliott Highways was again closed due to the snow. Avalanche reduction efforts were carried out along the Dalton Highway in the Brooks Range on the 26th through 28thto clear the road at Atigun Pass. An avalanche in the pass had caught four semi-trucks, but no one was hurt. The road remained closed until the end of the month.
A storm brought a fair amount of snow along the Panhandle on the 28th with totals of 5.0" at Pelican, 7.5" at Petersburg, 7.0" at Wrangle, and 9.5" at Ketchikan.