Where’s All the Snow?

The unseasonably warm weather in Anchorage this winter has prevented the usual accumulation of snow. Most of the nation was digging out from snowstorms a week before Thanksgiving, but there is barely any snow in Anchorage.

According to the National Weather Service, Anchorage normally has nearly 17 inches of snowfall this time of year. Instead, it’s seen less than 10 inches and some of that has melted with the warmer weather, which isn’t normal for this time of year.

Without snow, local skiers and snowboarders can’t do what they usually do in the winter months. Some people are leaving town to ski and snowboard while others are happy with the low amounts of snowfall.

Gabbie Cocom, sophomore at Dimond, said, “I’m happy with not having a lot of snow because I don’t snowboard or ski so it doesn’t really affect me that much. I think it’s just kind of in the way, but it looks pretty.”

The same weather system that recently brought frigid conditions from the North to the Lower 48 states, brought warmer and drier conditions to Alaska.

Without a lot of snow, local high school cross-country ski teams are practicing by running, hitting school gyms and lifting weights.

Some towns in Alaska and Canada are setting warm temperature records, while cold records are being set in the continental United States.

According to the National Weather Service, In Kotzebue, Alaska, a record high temperature for this time of year was recorded on November 10th when the temperature failed to fall below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This beat the old record of 28 degrees Fahrenheit, which was set in 1997.

Anchorage has never witnessed a completely snowless November. There have been several Novembers with an inch or less total snow in Anchorage (1995, 1921, 2006, 1926).

The warm weather even prevented Alaska’s most famous ski resort Alyeska, from opening its slopes on Thanksgiving Day, like it had done traditionally for years.

Officials with Alyeska said that the higher temperatures and lack of snow prevented the resort from even making its own snow for awhile like it usually does early in the season.

Alyeska finally officially opened for skiing and snowboarding on November 27 for the 2014-15 ski season.

On November 21, a new Buffalo-area snowfall record of 88 inches was set in Cowlesville, New York, shattering the previous high tally of 81.5 inches set in December 2001.

Cocom said, “My family that doesn’t live in Alaska thinks it’s funny that we have barely any snow and other places have tons of it.”

It seems like Alaska and the continental United States have reversed roles so far this season.

Chad Morrison, sophomore at Service, said, “I really want it to snow, but I guess it doesn’t really matter since Alyeska is open and able to make fake snow. As long as there is enough snow so I can ski, I’m happy.”

Teachers and students are probably hoping for a snow day soon, but that can’t happen if there’s barely any snow.