Nearly all Mat-Su County schools are closed Tuesday due to icy roads, and warmer weather is poised to bring similar conditions to much of south central Alaska this week.
The township’s website announced a remote learning day Tuesday morning for all schools except Glacier View School, with an update on extracurricular activities planned for noon.
Tim Markle, an Anchorage-based meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the weather pattern was part of a statewide “amplification,” with cold air moving across western Alaska and warm air rising from the Pacific Ocean toward the Gulf of Alaska and the south-central region.
The first element of the pattern to reach the Anchorage area was a warm front overnight Monday, Markle said, which started as light snow.
“And then when the front came in last night and overnight, the temperatures changed,” Markle said. “We started to warm up and we did see some freezing rain mixed in a little bit in the evening hours and then a little bit of rain as it came across the front.”
A special weather statement for the region, issued Tuesday morning, forecasts sporadic light showers on the Kenai Peninsula that will move to Anchorage and then into the Matanuska Valley by early afternoon. Markle said heavy snowfall, up to 20 inches, is expected in areas north of Talkeetna along Parks Highway, with a winter weather advisory in effect for those areas.
“We expect those warmer temperatures to hit Talkeetna later this morning and perhaps transition into a wintry mix,” Markle said. “The higher elevation northern areas will still all be snow so it will be a mix of precipitation for the Susitna Valley that will continue through today.”
Anchorage should expect warmer temperatures Tuesday, Markle said, with temperatures near freezing 32 degrees on the east side of the city. The weather service is monitoring a storm moving north toward Prince William Sound Wednesday morning, which may bring additional rain to Anchorage roads.
“The good news is that it looks like the forecast has been trending toward most of this storm being a little further east,” Markle said. “And that would help reduce the chances of rain, especially the amounts of rain, for the Anchorage area.”