October 2020 snowiest on record for this area?

Andes Tower Hills may be open for skiing on Saturday.

Paths are plowed down the side streets in Alexandria after heavy snow blanketed the area. (Jasmine Johnson / Echo Press)

Snow is piling up in the Alexandria area in what could be the snowiest October on record.

Eric Ahasic, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service said about 5-inches of snow hit the area on Tuesday, Oct. 20, with more snow falling Wednesday and Thursday.

As of 7 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, another 8.2-inches had covered the ground making the total in October so far at 13.2 inches. And it kept snowing through the day Thursday.

"We do not have the most complete set of records from Alexandria, but this is almost certainly the snowiest October on record as well as the most snow this early in the year," said Ahasic.

Photo gallery: Snowy October


He added that for this area, the only close Octobers they have on record were in 1951, with 7.1-inches and 1995, with 6-inches.

With snowfall totals slowly inching toward that two-foot mark, the phones at Andes Tower Hills are definitely starting to ring, said Tom Anderson, owner of the ski hill near Kensington, about 16 miles west of Alexandria.

Anderson said the ground is still warm, which means they will lose about half of the snow that has fallen. However, with temperatures expecting to dip well below freezing, he is hoping to start making snow Friday. He said although natural snow is good, the manmade powder has more texture and doesn't melt as easily.

With the ski hill making snow and more natural snow in the forecast for Saturday, Anderson said the plan as of right now is to open up on Saturday, Oct. 24, and be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. However, he encourages those hoping to hit slopes on Saturday for skiing or snowboarding to call first, just in case they don't open.

Excited about the opportunity to open, Anderson said this is the first time that he knows of that Andes will open in October. Previously, the earliest opening date was Nov. 2.

"It sounds like we are going to have a long season," he said. "We have the potential to be open for 23 straight weeks."

That would break the ski hill's record of 22 straight weeks, he said, adding that 2019 was rated as one of the best winters in about 10 years. But he said it wasn't because of the snow fall amounts, it was because of the mild temperatures.

If Andes does open Saturday, he said it will only be one hill, but that if the weather continues its course, he anticipates opening more by next weekend.

Related Topics: WEATHER
Celeste Edenloff is the special projects editor and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.
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