Massive snow fall causes city to shrink

Snow accumulation is narrowing roads and literally shrinking the city. (Scott Jensen/KTUU-TV)
Snow accumulation is narrowing roads and literally shrinking the city. (Scott Jensen/KTUU-TV)
Joyce Elliston, whose lived in Alaska since 1967, says she has never seen as much snow as has fallen this winter. (Scott Jensen/KTUU-TV)
Joyce Elliston, whose lived in Alaska since 1967, says she has never seen as much snow as has fallen this winter. (Scott Jensen/KTUU-TV)
Since the first snowfall of the season, more than 74 inches have fallen in Anchorage. (Scott Jensen/KTUU-TV)
Since the first snowfall of the season, more than 74 inches have fallen in Anchorage. (Scott Jensen/KTUU-TV)
The city claims it is already $2 million over its snow removal budget. (Scott Jensen/KTUU-TV)
The city claims it is already $2 million over its snow removal budget. (Scott Jensen/KTUU-TV)

by Rebecca Palsha
Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2007

Anchorage, Alaska – Anchorage has been hit with more than 74 inches of snow this season, and according to the city, it’s reaching a crisis level, with snow removal on the streets becoming a big problem.

The roads are looking smaller these days around town, as two-lane roads are quickly becoming one. The city can plow the roads, but where it can remove the snow to another location is a problem.

It is a long, tiring day for Joyce Elliston.

“I’ve lived in Alaska since 1967 and I don’t remember ever having this much snow before,” Elliston said.

It’s everywhere, covering her cars and her house. Digging out from 74 inches of snow is slow going for everyone.

“It’s just a small street and with the added snow, I don’t know where we’re going to put it all,” said Elliston.

That’s a problem even the city faces. The city can plow it off the road, but then what? It’s not legal to move the snow onto people’s property, so it all starts piling up, leaving drivers with skinny streets.

“Makes it a lot more difficult to access houses,” said fireman Jeff Hoke from Station 14

That’s scary news for the Anchorage Fire Department.

“The rigs are hard to maneuver. Their big and with the added snow and already narrow streets, it makes it a lot more difficult for us,” said Hoke.

The city is already $2 million over budget for snow removal this season, and says the situation is nearing crisis, with clearing crews working six day weeks.

And it won’t be completely done until the white stuff turns into the wet stuff.

City officials says Anchorage has been hit with twice the amount of snow that typically falls during the winter, and the season is only half over potentially.

The city also says that only police can write tickets for illegally-parked cars due to snow accumulation, or for residents pushing snow into streets.

But community service operators have been working these past two weeks taking information about illegal snow removers and passing that information on to police, who can then either write a ticket or give a warning.

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