Snow is cleared from the parking lot at Kenai Cinema in Kenai, Alaska on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Winter storm brings heavier, more snow than expected

Heavy snowfall hit the Central Peninsula on Tuesday, following a weather advisory by the National Weather Service that warned of up to 5 inches of snow.

Instead, around 8-14 inches of snow hit the area, NWS Meteorologist Michael Kutz said. Snowfall was heaviest in Nikiski, lighter in Soldotna.

By 6 a.m., the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District had called for a two-hour delay start for all schools from “Tustumena to Sterling to Nikiski.” Kenai Peninsula College and the Kenaitze Indian Tribe also announced delayed openings for their buildings and facilities in the early hours. Just after 7 a.m., KPBSD shifted that delay to a full closure, and the other organizations followed suit.

Roads were icy — despite plow trucks being in operation early Wednesday morning. Tuesday night, several vehicles could be seen in ditches off the sides of Kalifornsky Beach Road and Bridge Access Road.

Kenai Police Sergeant Ryan Coleman said “roads are very slick, people should definitely slow down and stay home if they don’t need to be driving.”

Dil Uhlin, roads director for the Kenai Peninsula Borough Road Service Area, said the call was made to get plows running around 10 p.m. on Tuesday.

“I live out in Nikiski, I had about 7 inches on the ground at that time, and we made the call there to just start plowing.”

Uhlin said the contractors who handle plowing on the roads have up to four hours to get going, and the contract includes a “trigger point” of 4 inches, at which point they should already be getting their equipment ready.

“Our inspectors were on the road by 3:30, I’d say 95% of the contractors were already out moving.”

Each of the units and regions under the borough have contractors signed, Uhlin said, though he has heard that some have had trouble finding employees.

The contractors prioritize the high traffic roads, like Kalifornsky Beach Road or Bridge Access Road, then move to cover everything else in their unit.

Each unit contains, on average, 100 to 150 miles of road, Uhlin said. Time to clear it all was further delayed by the amount of snow, the weight of the snow and also because the roads aren’t frozen yet; the contractors had to be careful not to tear up gravel.

“We were only expecting 3 to 5 inches,” Uhlin said. “We didn’t have a ton of snow last night, but it was a heavier snow.”

The difference between the forecast and the number of flakes is because, originally, NWS expected things to warm up and shift towards rain in the night, Kutz said.

The snow isn’t going anywhere in the near future; Kutz said the forecast is mostly a mix of sun and clouds through the weekend and into next week. Temperatures should largely hold in the low to mid 20s, dropping around 10 to 15 at night.

“Only a slight chance of snow for Saturday night,” he said.

For more information about the Kenai Peninsula Borough Road Service Area, visit kpb.us/rds-service-area/about-rds or call 907-262-4427.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

A pile of snow is seen in the Walmart parking lot on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
A plow truck clears snow as it moves down the Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai, Alaska on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
A plow truck clears snow as it moves down the Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai, Alaska on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
A plow truck clears snow as it moves down the Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai on Wednesday. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

A plow truck clears snow as it moves down the Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai on Wednesday. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

A plow truck clears snow as it moves down the Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai, Alaska on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

A plow truck clears snow as it moves down the Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai on Wednesday. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

A plow truck clears snow as it moves down the Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai, Alaska on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

A plow truck clears snow as it moves down the Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai on Wednesday. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

A plow truck clears snow as it moves down the Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai, Alaska on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

A plow truck clears snow as it moves down the Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai on Wednesday. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

A plow truck clears snow as it moves down the Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai on Wednesday. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

A plow truck clears snow as it moves down the Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai on Wednesday. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

More in News

Girl Scout Troop 210, which includes Caitlyn Eskelin, Emma Hindman, Kadie Newkirk and Lyberty Stockman, present their “Bucket Trees” to a panel of judges in the 34th Annual Caring for the Kenai Competition at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, April 18, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Bucket trees take top award at 34th Caring for the Kenai

A solution to help campers safely and successfully extinguish their fires won… Continue reading

Children work together to land a rainbow trout at the Kenai Peninsula Sport, Rec & Trade Show on Saturday, May 6, 2023, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Sport show returns next weekend

The 37th Annual Kenai Peninsula Sport, Rec & Trade Show will be… Continue reading

Alaska Press Club awards won by Ashlyn O’Hara, Jeff Helminiak and Jake Dye are splayed on a desk in the Peninsula Clarion’s newsroom in Kenai, Alaska, on Monday, April 22, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Clarion writers win 9 awards at Alaska Press Club conference

The Clarion swept the club’s best arts and culture criticism category for the 2nd year in a row

Exit Glacier, as seen in August 2015 from the Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park just outside of Seward, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
6 rescued after being stranded in Harding Ice Field

A group of six adult skiers were rescued after spending a full… Continue reading

City of Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel and City Manager Terry Eubank present “State of the City” at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Mayor, city manager share vision at Kenai’s ‘State of the City’

At the Sixth Annual State of the City, delivered by City of… Continue reading

LaDawn Druce asks Sen. Jesse Bjorkman a question during a town hall event on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
District unions call for ‘walk-in’ school funding protest

The unions have issued invitations to city councils, the borough assembly, the Board of Education and others

tease
House District 6 race gets 3rd candidate

Alana Greear filed a letter of intent to run on April 5

Kenai City Hall is seen on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai water treatment plant project moves forward

The city will contract with Anchorage-based HDL Engineering Consultants for design and engineering of a new water treatment plant pumphouse

Students of Soldotna High School stage a walkout in protest of the veto of Senate Bill 140 in front of their school in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
SoHi students walk out for school funding

The protest was in response to the veto of an education bill that would have increased school funding

Most Read