Snowfall making up for slow years
After several years of wimpy winters, this one is muscle-bound.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- The snow is already 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 the overtime hours.
Even by Alaska's prodigious, myth-making standards, this is a remarkably snowy winter on the Last Frontier.
In one of the strangest winters across America in many years, Alaska's biggest city has gotten more snow -- over 74 inches so far -- than it normally receives in an entire winter (68 inches). And there are still four more months of snowy weather ahead.
Anchorage Daily News columnist Beth Bragg cried, "Uncle!"
"Winter wins. Snow wins. Now can we see the sun again?" she wrote in Friday's column. "Twice already I've hired someone to shovel my roof. Both times I waited until water leaked into the house. Both times, I discovered something was amiss, not because water dripped off the ceiling, but because it seeped through the bedroom carpet."
Some like it
The robust snowfall comes after several years of wimpy, 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 University of Alaska student who likes to go ice skating at an outdoor rink downtown. "I can't get enough."
The Anchorage snowfall record is 132.5 inches, set in the winter of 1955-56.
City snow-removal crews have had to cut channels through the streets, leaving narrower-than-usual roads, hemmed in by walls of snow as high as cars.
Ronnie Arnett, who came to Alaska from Kentucky in 1999 because of the lure of the frontier, said she is fortunate she drives a big vehicle. Owning SUVs "should almost be a requirement in Alaska for safety reasons. It gives you the power to see over the humps," she said.
To help open side streets, Anchorage police have begun towing cars and issuing tickets instead of just warning drivers. Police spokesman Lt. Paul Honeman said people have "become a little lulled in light snow years."
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