Icy roads and a foot of snow marks Kodiak’s first snowstorm of the year

Emergency crews responded to a pile-up in downtown Kodiak due to icy road conditions; no injuries were reported. (Brian Venua/KMXT)

A storm system that moved in from the Bering Sea on Monday dropped nearly a foot of snow on Kodiak Island and caused slick driving conditions throughout the day – including an eight car pile-up in downtown Kodiak on Monday afternoon. 

Police temporarily rerouted traffic at the Y in downtown. No injuries were reported and crews had the vehicles cleared within the hour.

“A minimum of six cars hit each other then two up there got stuck and just couldn’t come down and they were scared that they were seeing all the cars piling up going downhill,” said Lt. Francis de la Fuente, a spokesperson for the Kodiak Police Department.

Kodiak saw the brunt of the snow from Monday’s storm, which hit areas of western Alaska – including parts of the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta, Bristol Bay and all of the Kodiak archipelago. 

“Just based on observations I would say that Kodiak and even Kodiak city itself has gotten the most snow so far out of this system,” said Carson Jones, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Anchorage.

Jones says the storm system combined with cold air coming down from Southcentral Alaska – creating the “perfect storm” for Monday’s blustery conditions.

As of Monday afternoon, the day’s snowfall wasn’t quite record breaking. Kodiak’s record snowfall for November was 14 inches, recorded on Nov. 1, 1965.

Snow totals Monday afternoon were nearing a foot in town. (Brian Venua/KMXT)

Although, Jones says gathering data for snow that falls on the island is a challenge. Kodiak no longer has a dedicated person to measure and report new snow to the National Weather Service, and any measurements taken by local, amateur meteorologists is incredibly useful for the agency.

“Giving us a quick total is very helpful,” said Jones. 

Anyone can report their own backyard snow totals by submitting a storm report on the National Weather Service’s website – or calling the agency’s Anchorage office. That number is 907-266-5105.

The snow stopped Monday afternoon, although de la Fuente saaid drivers should still be prepared for icy road conditions over the next few days.

KMXT’s Brian Venua contributed to this reporting.

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