Snow piles up early at Hatcher Pass
Over the last week, Hatcher Pass has been transformed into a Winter Wonderland!
Snow first started falling in the area two weeks ago, back on Sept. 25, which was 19 days earlier than last year's first snowfall. Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities closed the road over the summit at that time for the winter.
The official snow recording site at Independence Mine recorded a snow depth of 3 inches on the Sept. 26, but by Sept. 28, it was back to zero — until this week.
The snow began to pile up inch by inch with back-to-back storms starting Saturday. The snow depth reached 10 inches on Oct. 5 but it didn't stop there.
This latest storm brought in significant moisture from the Gulf of Alaska, most of which turned to snow in the highest elevations of Southcentral. As of 7 p.m. Thursday, the official snow depth at Independence Mine is up to 34 inches!
The Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center tracks the conditions through the winter season, providing critical updates on avalanche conditions. The center warned people on Facebook that avalanches are possible after this heavy snow early Thursday "If venturing into the mid to upper elevations, above 3000’, be aware that dangerous avalanche conditions may exist."
Independence Mine never saw this much snow this early in the season last year, in fact, it wasn't until Feb. 4 that the mine had a snow depth of more than 35 inches.
You can get the current conditions at the Independence Mine observation site from the Chugach National Forecast Avalanche Information Center.
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