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Daryl Ritchison, WDAY, Published April 14 2012

Weather Talk: Anchorage experiences snowiest season on record

Last weekend, Anchorage, Alaska, recorded nearly 5 inches of new snow. Certainly not unusual for the time of year, but that additional snowfall was enough to bring their seasonal total to 134.5 inches which made the 2011-12 snow season the snowiest on record.

The old record was 133.6 inches recorded during the winter of 1954-55. The current 30-year average snowfall for Anchorage is 74.5 inches. It was not only Anchorage – most of the other coastal cities in Alaska recorded an extraordinarily snowy winter.

Not only was the snow plentiful, but so was the cold. Whereas most of the lower 48 states have experienced very mild conditions in recent months, Alaska has been recording mainly below-average temperatures. The cold air has also caused another problem: sea ice. Although good sea ice statistics only go back to 1979, this season did set a record for aerial extent around the state, delaying the spring opening of shipping routes in the Bering Sea.

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