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Anchorage breaks 57-year-old record for snow in one season

Dan Joling / AP

Mallards take off from ice as a juvenile trumpeter swan swims by on Friday, April 6, 2012, at Westchester Lagoon in Anchorage, Alaska. The waterfowl made an appearance as nearly an inch of snow was falling on Alaska's largest city.

Anchorage on Saturday surpassed a 57-year-old record for snowfall in one season, the National Weather Service reported.

The old record of 132.6 inches in Alaska's largest city occurred in 1954-1955, it said. But 3.4 inches of snow that fell from midnight to 4 p.m. local time pushed the season total to 133.6 inches -- more than 11 feet, the National Weather Service said.

The total is nearly double Anchorage’s normal amount, The Associated Press said.


The city was 2.5 inches short of the record going into Easter weekend, NBC station KTUU said.

Snow began falling Friday morning, with 0.8 inches accumulating. More fell overnight Friday and throughout the day Saturday.

The season got off to a slow start, KTUU said.

The first snow didn't arrive until the Oct. 30. But each month from November to February there was above-normal snowfall, KTUU said. November saw the greatest snowfall, with 32.4 inches, close to three times the average for the month.

By March, Anchorage was on pace to shatter the record, but a slightly below normal month seemed to dim the chances of breaking the 1954-55 record, KTUU said.

No snow fell from mid-March until Friday, The Associated Press reported. Going into April, 3.3 inches were still needed to break the record.

Records have been kept at or very near the current location near the Ted Stevens International Airport since 1953.

City snow removal crews have hauled more than 2.5 million cubic yards of snow to the city's six snow disposal sites, which are close to capacity, The Associated Press reported. Maintenance and operations director Alan Czajkowski said that volume would almost fill the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans.

At the height of the snow overload, many residential streets were rimmed by snow-walled canyons that towered over fences and shielded homes. Some roofs collapsed, mostly on older commercial buildings with flat roofs.

On Friday afternoon, falling ice outside Anchorage crushed a car, trapping a 32-year-old woman inside and shutting the Seward Highway. Rescuers and passersby freed the woman and got her to a hospital, where she is recovering with severe head and neck injuries.

This article includes reporting by The Associated Press.

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