While much of the rest of the country is basking in robins and sunshine, Alaska's biggest city was busily breaking a 60-year-old seasonal snow record yesterday. Inundated with nearly double the snow they're used to, Anchorage residents have been expecting to see this season's snowfall surpass the record of 132.6 inches set in the winter of 1954-'55. The 3.4 inches that fell in a spring snowstorm yesterday afternoon brings the total to 133.6 inches.
Two different weather phenomena—La Niña and its northern cousin the Arctic Oscillation—are mostly to blame, meteorologists say. Global warming could also be a factor because it is supposed to increase weather extremes, according to climate scientists. Even by Alaska standards, Anchorage has been walloped by snow. City snow removal crews have worked around the clock to clear roadways and haul more than 2.5 million cubic yards of snow to the city's six snow disposal sites, which are close to capacity. A city official says that volume would almost fill the Louisiana Superdome. (Read more snow stories.)