Icy roads

A layer of ice covers the roads in Fairbanks after an unseasonable rainfall overnight in Interior Alaska. This photo was taken at 5:20 a.m. from the road weather camera at Airport Way and Cowles Street. Courtesy Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. 

Updated 1:33 p.m.: The City of Fairbanks Public Works Department plans to continue laying down sand on all major roads throughout Sunday evening and into Monday morning to prepare for the start of the work week, according to city spokeswoman Amber Courtney.

Courtney said the city is not expecting ice conditions on the roads to improve much by Monday morning.

Courtney said emergency dispatchers have not been inundated with calls from the road conditions, which she attributes to the fact that most people are avoiding the roads and those who are driving seem to be taking precautions.

Courtney, after speaking with Fairbanks Emergency Communications Center Manager Stephanie Johnson, said dispatchers have mostly received calls about fender benders or minor accidents outside of town in hilly areas with graded roads.

Updated 12:55 p.m.: Fairbanks International Airport has re-opened its commercial runway and resumed regular operations, but its general aviation runways for private pilots are still closed.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District is monitoring conditions to determine whether regular school operations should be changed at all for Monday. District spokeswoman Johanna Carson said notifications will be sent via all usual channels if any change is planned.

Updated 11:58 a.m.: Rain began falling over Fairbanks and Interior Alaska overnight Saturday, coating roads and surfaces with ice and making travel extremely hazardous. 

Advisories have been issued on all Interior Alaska roads. Travel is not advised, and extreme caution is urged if travel is necessary. One resident posted a video of a man ice skating down a residential road this morning.

All available crews are out spreading sand on the road Sunday, according to the Alaska Department of Transportation.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning this morning through noon. Rain, sleet and snow are expected to continue in the region, with up to two-tenths of an inch of ice forming. Motorists are advised to drive cautiously and watch for road crews. The Fairbanks Police Department advises drivers to use tire chains if they have to venture out.

Several flights were canceled Saturday night at Fairbanks International Airport and others diverted to Anchorage. 

Other closures and cancellations:

• The Morris Thompson Cultural Center is closed

• The West Ridge skijor race has been canceled.

• Catholic schools of Fairbanks has canceled its open house.

• Most Fairbanks North Star Borough facilities are closed today, including the Noel Wien Library, Birch Hill, Mary Siah, Hamme and Wescott pools. The Big Dipper is open for previously scheduled events. The landfill will be open until 5 p.m. 

• The Ice Park is delaying the start of their Ice Classic until Tuesday, due to the airport closure and hazardous travel.

FAIRBANKS - Heavy rain falling on icy roads in the Copper River Valley is causing extremely hazardous travel conditions in the region. An ice storm warning has been issued for the region, especially the Richardson and Edgerton highways.

The Alaska Department of Transportation issued a travel advisory Saturday night, advising drivers to avoid travel in the region. Road surfaces are very slick and up to a quarter inch of ice could form on some areas through Sunday morning.

Light freezing rain and snow showers are forecast for much of Interior Alaska as a warm, wet weather front pushes north. A winter storm warning has been issued for the Denali Park area for up to three-tenths of an inch of freezing rain through 6 p.m. Sunday. 

Rain and icy roads also were reported in the Anchorage, Kenai Peninsula and Mat-Su regions Saturday.