Avalanche warnings, closures continue as marathon storm dumps record snowfall
Storm impacts continue with record snowfall Tuesday as state and city offices remain closed, school district conducts a second day of remote learning, and Thane Road is scheduled to be closed again overnight starting at 4 p.m. Tuesday due to high avalanche risk .
Juneau broke the single-day snowfall record on Jan. 22 with 11 inches on Monday, surpassing the previous record of five inches set in 1969, according to the National Weather Service Juneau. Several inches of additional snow fell Sunday when the storm began and an updated forecast Tuesday morning said more than a foot of additional snow could accumulate before the winter storm warning expires at 3 a.m. Wednesday.
“The end of the current weather system is in sight — but it has not arrived yet,” said a statement issued by NWS Juneau around 7:20 a.m. Tuesday.
In a subsequent post on its Facebook page around 1 p.m., the station announced, “Snow is accumulating around the Juneau area with another foot in the air in many places over the past 24 hours.”
“In the back of the Mendenhall Valley, the current storm total (Sunday morning through Tuesday afternoon) is an astonishing 26.4 inches,” the post read.
The original forecast from NWS Juneau called for up to 15 inches of snow and the storm would be over by Monday night, but the front has been hovering over Juneau much longer than expected.
Conditions after the storm warning ends are expected to remain chaotic, with rain sometimes mixed with snow at least through next Monday, with temperatures ranging from the mid-30s to 40 degrees.
The avalanche danger for the Juneau area on Tuesday was rated as level four (“high”) out of five, according to the City and Borough of Juneau’s advisory website.
The website notes, “With the massive amounts of snow over the past few days, the risk of avalanches remains high.” “As temperatures increase today and into tonight and tomorrow, the potential for natural avalanches continues to increase. With the large amounts of snow over the past few days depending on the size of the starting area that triggers these avalanches, they could be very large to approach historic.”
Several avalanches were reported Monday, following several previous avalanches following a major snowstorm a week ago. “I don’t think we have enough snow to hit Egan Drive yet, although we are getting close to the amounts that could start to endanger homes,” city meteorologist Tom Mathis wrote in an online report Tuesday.
Thane Road was closed Monday night due to avalanche danger, and while the road reopened as of approximately 11 a.m. Tuesday, it will be closed again overnight starting at 4 p.m. Tuesday, according to an announcement from the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Utilities.
“The re-evaluation will take place tomorrow morning, and residents will be notified to prepare for a possible closure for several days,” the announcement read.
Although city offices and facilities are closed, some municipal meetings scheduled during the day — including the Juneau Planning Commission, Juneau Board of Education and Bartlett Regional Hospital Board of Directors — are holding their meetings as scheduled via Zoom, according to an announcement on the CBJ website. . Capital Transit buses operate on winter routes.
• Contact Mark Sabbatini at firstname.lastname@example.org or (907) 957-2306.