Alaska’s largest city eyes snow record
A near-record snowfall this winter has buried Anchorage neighborhoods, turning streets into snow-walled canyons and even collapsing some roofs.
But some residents are hoping for more, at least another 3.3 inches. Then they could say they made it through the winter when the nearly 60-year record of 132.6 inches was broken.
“I want it destroyed,” resident Melissa Blair said. “I want to see another foot and knock that record out of the park.”
Even by Alaska standards, this winter is unusual for the hardy residents of the state’s largest city. But extreme weather isn’t just affecting Alaska, it has also hit the Lower 48.
The first three months of 2012 have seen twice the normal number of tornadoes. And 36 states set daily high temperature records Thursday. The Lower 48 had its fourth warmest winter on record, while Alaska had its coldest January on record.
Two different weather phenomenon - La Nina and its northern cousin the Arctic Oscillation - are mostly to blame, meteorologists say. Global warming could also be a factor because it is supposed to increase weather extremes, climate scientists say.
“When you start to see the extreme events become more common, that’s when you can say that it is a consequence of global warming,” University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver said.