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Even in Alaska, that's a lot: 74 inches of snow already

January 27, 2007|From the Associated Press

ANCHORAGE — The snow is piled so high that drivers cannot see around corners. Homeowners are getting worried their roofs can't handle the load. And snow-removal crews are running up overtime hours.

Even by Alaska's prodigious standards, this is a remarkably snowy winter.

In one of the strangest winters across America in many years, Alaska's biggest city has already gotten more snow -- more than 74 inches -- than it normally receives in an entire winter (68 inches). And four more months of snowy weather are expected. The Anchorage snowfall record, set in the winter of 1955-56, is 132.5 inches.

"Winter wins. Snow wins. Now can we see the sun again?" Beth Bragg wrote in her Friday column in the Anchorage Daily News. "Twice already I've hired someone to shovel my roof. Both times I waited until water leaked into the house."

The robust snowfall comes after several years of low-snow winters in proudly rugged Alaska, and so it is welcome news to some.

"I love the snow. Bring it on!" said Whitney Hitchcock, a 20-year-old student at the University of Alaska who likes to go ice skating at an outdoor rink in downtown Anchorage. "I can't get enough."

City snow-removal crews have had to cut channels through the streets, creating narrow roadways between walls of snow as high as cars.

To help open side streets, Anchorage police have begun towing cars and issuing tickets.

The city's 100 snow-removal workers will have to work 10-hour shifts six days a week for the next two months to clear the streets, a maintenance official said.

Last year at this time, crews were patching potholes created by a warming trend that had water running down the streets.

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