‘Pandemic of snow’: Alaska hit by record snowfall

A “pandemic of snow” has covered a city in Alaska, causing the roofs of commercial buildings to collapse – with officials urging residents to get out their shovels to avoid a similar fate at home.

Home to just under 300,000 people, Anchorage is no stranger to cold winters. But this time, the city has already been covered in 100 inches (2.5m) of snow – earlier than at any other time in its history.

Even winter-savvy Anchorage residents are getting fed up with the snow-filled streets and pavements, constant shoveling and six days of pandemic-era remote learning.

“It’s miserable,” said Tamera Flores, a school teacher working to clear her driveway, as a snow pile towered over her head. “It’s a pandemic of snow.”

Following a bumper snow year last year, this year is on track to break the all-time record of 134.5 inches (3.4m) of snowfall.

The rooftops of three commercial buildings have collapsed so far under loads of heavy snow.

Last year, 16 buildings had roofs collapse with one person killed at a gym.

Officials said there were snow loads of more than 30 pounds per square foot (146 kilograms per square meter).

“That is a lot of weight,” the notice said.

It gave the example of a home with a roof measuring around 1,500 square feet (139 square meters) with 30 pounds per square foot (146 kg per square meter) of snow, which it said would be supporting about 45,000 pounds (20,411kg), or “about 8 full size light duty pickup trucks”.

However, despite the concerns, some fun has inevitably come from the huge snowfall.

One Anchorage homeowner constructed a colossal snowman standing six meters tall – and dubbed it “Snowzilla”.