ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The calendar says it’s spring in Alaska, but with lakes still frozen and snow in the forecast for the Anchorage area this weekend, many residents are saying enough is enough.
“The impacts are primarily psychological,” Dave Snider, a National Weather Service meteorologist, told the Anchorage Daily News. “A lot of people have their (snow) tires off. A lot of people probably took advantage of the big Mother’s Day plant sale.”
Residents can expect up to 3 inches of snow in Anchorage and more at higher elevations overnight Friday, forecasters said.
If the forecast pans out and there is measurable snow accumulation of at least a 10th of an inch at the Anchorage forecast office of the weather service, it will break a local record for the longest snowfall season in modern memory, Snider said.
The incoming storm is expected to affect residents from Kenai Peninsula north to Denali Borough.
The snow is being caused by unseasonably cold weather that is setting records around the state.
“People are just frustrated,” Snider said. “It quite literally is a four-letter word.”
Already this month, long-held records for cold have toppled in Fairbanks and kept rivers from breaking up in Alaska’s Interior, including the Tanana River in Nenana.
Each year, thousands of people buy tickets and bet on when the ice will break free of the bank and begin moving in the annual Nenana Ice Classic. Whoever makes the closest guess, down to the minute and second, wins a cash prize, which is sometimes split among multiple winners. The 2012 jackpot is $318,500.
The vast majority of predicted times have come and gone this year. Of the roughly 261,000 tickets sold, only 3,649 had a chance of winning as of Thursday, Ice Classic Manager Cherrie Forness said. That’s about 1.4 percent.
“Until we actually see it staying above freezing, it doesn’t give the ice much of a chance to thaw. So it’s slowly rotting away here. It’s not really melting,” Forness said by phone from Nenana.
In Interior Alaska, Dalton Highway remained closed. The 135-mile highway usually opens by May 15, but not this year, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities said.
Crews began trying to open the highway in April but because of drifting snow must re-plow n sections that were already cleared.