Nation/World

Snow Giving Alaskans The Slip November Brown In Anchorage, And Barrow Got Just 6 Inches

Except for people who’d rather not have to shovel a few feet of white stuff to get to the mailbox, this season’s been a dud.

The wind still rustles up the sound of fallen autumn leaves, unmuffled by snow.

Snowmobile fans in Alaska’s largest city have had to haul their machines a few hundred miles out of town in search of snow.

Nordic skiers have almost given up, retreating to thickly frozen lakes for a few unrewarding laps. High school ski meets have been scrubbed.

Fans of warm weather pursuits, such as mountain bikers, on the other hand, are smiling.

A dry trend started in October because a high pressure area has been stalled over Nunivak Island in the Bering Sea, diverting moist air from the Anchorage area, the National Weather Service said.

It was the city’s driest November since 1985 and among the brownest since 1921. Anchorage had a scant .09 of an inch of new snow during the entire 30-day stretch.

That may not sound so bad by Lower 48 standards, but during the same month last year, this area of south-central Alaska got 39 inches. In an average year, nearly 10 inches falls at Anchorage by Thanksgiving.

Conditions are similar elsewhere around Alaska. Barrow, the state’s northernmost city, would normally have about 15 inches of snow by now but this year has just 6 inches. Valdez, the oil port that got a record 9 feet of snow last November, has only about an inch on the ground.

There’s no snow in sight at least through Thursday, the weather service says.

Icy but bare ground also is affecting sled dog teams.

“It ain’t good,” said Raymie Redington, a veteran Iditarod trail musher.



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