On Wednesday an atmospheric river event hit Alaska’s Chugach Mountains. On Alaska’s Thompson Pass, outside of the town of Valdez, the winter storm dropped a whopping 40″ of snow in just 12 hours. During the storm a weather station recorded 10 inches of snow in just one hour. That’s around 1.7 inches every 10 minutes!
Thompson Pass is no stranger to extreme snowfall. Sitting at 2,678 feet above sea level, is the snowiest reporting station in the nation, getting between 600 to 900 inches per year.
The extreme snowfall resulted in massive avalanches. One avalanche that released during or just after the storm buried the Richardson Highway in 20 feet of snow.
The extreme snowfall and subsequent avalanche cutoff the town of Valdez, with a population around 4,000, from the rest of the state an caught one car full of very lucky Alaskans.