The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Snow record set for December in Valdez

Winter of ’89 comes to mind for many as white blankets town


Valdez Star photo

The 154.8 inches of snow Valdez received in December looks especially impressive after it is piled sky high. Valdez kids often enjoy sledding down the man-made mounds.

“No other place I’ve been just has walls and walls of snow,” Hayden – no relation to Greg and Kathy Hayden of Valdez – said. “I’ll tell ya’, making snow angels in this town is no problem.”

No one else has ever seen this much snow in Valdez in December either according to the National Weather Service.

“Valdez has broken the record for snowfall for the month of December with over 144 inches as of this afternoon,” the weather service said in a public statement issued Thursday, December 29. “The old record was 137.1 inches set in 1991.”

By Friday, December 30, Valdez had more snow on the ground than it did for all of last winter, which saw a measly 215.5 inches.

“We’re at 226.2 inches for this season,” Steve Erickson of the National Weather Service said Tuesday morning.

The mounds and pounds of snow has many remembering the record-shattering show year of 1989/90 which measured a whopping 560.7 inches for the season.

That winter, Valdez had only 218.6 inches of snow by December. On January 3, 2012, Valdez has recorded 96.2 inches of snow above the yearly average of 130 inches for that date.

While many in Valdez peer at the sky with a wary eye, Hayden, who is visiting family for the holidays, says she is delighted with the experience.

Valdez Star photo

ADOT Snowplows work double time on the Richardson Highway during recent snowfalls.

“I got a kick out of that,” Hayden said after describing the thrill of watching parents pull sleds loaded with small children instead of pushing strollers. “We just saw them at Safeway.”

While many winter sports enthusiasts are busy waxing their skis under semi-blue skies earlier this week, others have been grumbling while – once again - grabbing their shovels.

“This weekend we could get more heavy snow,” Erickson said, anytime after Thursday.

For visitors like Hayden, Valdez snow is a marvel to behold.

“It’s great,” she said. “I mean it’s – I don’t know how to put it - it’s just beautiful.”


Reader Comments

Editor writes:

There was a small one word error. It should read “That winter, Valdez had only 218.6 inches of snow BY December.” Not in December. Thank you for pointing out this small but critical error. The paragraph in question has been revised to say “by” not “ in

Max writes:

I'm confused. Paragraph #3 says the December record was 137.1 inches set in 1991. Then, paragraph #7 says that there was 218.6 inches of snow in December 1989. So, what's the real record?

Sara writes:

Stay warm Auntie Sue!

DeAnna writes:

Oh, how I miss the snow shoveling and sleding children in Valdez. Such an amazing place, people in the lower 48 just cannot imagine the fun and community available with that much snow. I know we as neighbors would help eachother shovel out and all the kids would play together.... Such Wonderful Memories!!


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