Snowpocalypse: Juneau buried under feet of snow, ice, now rain

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Avalanches and the danger of roofs collapsing and boats sinking. The situation in Juneau is difficult, to say the least. Fred Meyer and Western Auto were two of the commercial outlets that closed their doors due to the risk of collapsing roofs, after at least 42 inches of snow has fallen in the past few days, Now, with temperatures in the 30s, rain is adding weight to that snow.

At least one Alaska Airlines flight leaving Juneau this morning was delayed for over an hour because the ice on the tarmac was so slick it prevented the plane from being towed away from the gate.

Local schools and the State executive offices in Juneau closed on Monday, due to the weather hazard, and local garbage service was suspended. City and Borough of Juneau offices remained open, but not all staff were working in the building.

Safeway was still open, but some businesses, such as Jordan Creek Mall, with flat pitch roofs are closed until their structures are evaluated.

Thane Road, south of Juneau, saw its avalanche gates go down across the road on Sunday, due to the likelihood of another avalanche. The road was reopened Monday at 9 am, but may close again at a moment’s notice. A week ago, an avalanche on that road reached the waters of Gastineau Channel.

People were warned to stay out of Silverbow Basin area, where avalanches are the norm, and so are hikers and dog-walkers.

“Road conditions all around Southeast Alaska are hazardous with rain falling on icy roads. All of our crews and available resources are out working on the roads as quickly as they can in order of established priority. Egan Drive and priority one routes in Juneau have been addressed and our crew efforts have shifted to other areas. State offices and many other agencies are closed today in Juneau, Ketchikan, and Craig (POW). Please stay home if you can!,” the Alaska Department of Transportation wrote.

19 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, and look at that picture! They are surviving without burying their roads in heavy salty, silty dirt like we endure in the Matsu valley. The valley is beyond filthy and DOT continues to sand sand. As our vehicles, equipment and garage floors corrode, not to mention my hardwood floors as you can’t keep it out of the house, there seems to be no end. Gotta keep us all in that ‘government will save you’ plastic bubble. No need for simply employing winter driving skills. Personal property destruction evidently doesn’t matter. 😆☺️

  2. “but some businesses, such as Jordan Creek Mall, with flat pitch roofs are closed until their structures are evaluated.”
    .
    Here’s a wild idea…..have people shovel the snow off the roofs.

  3. Wonder if all their kids are out playing in it. I remember us kids of my generation would use every snow day to its fullest. This i miss the most is all the neighbored kids playing as a troop marching up and down the streets playing in the snow. Alas the days just before internet.

      • I did household chores, then homework. I walked to all the errands our family needed, the post office, the grocery store. My good time was being a volunteer at the library and our regular church meetings am., pm Sunday, and Wednesday. We walked everywhere. For family fun we went for walks. Not marathons like my Mom used to do. I still don’t “play.” If you need someone to play that would be someone else.

    • Wayne, Back in the sixties we were shorter making snow drifts appear taller…
      The worse winter in recorded history was actually ’06-’07. That winter saw Juneau get over six feet of snow just in November and ended with something like 17 feet total snowfall before it was over.
      But to put it in perspective, 17 feet of snow equaled the least snow fall ever for Valdez!

  4. The flat roof snow load issue reminds me of the first year I left my boat in the water over winter in Whittier, must have been 1985. There was a flat roofed storage building, an old Army structure with real thick concrete walls, that housed boats over winter. After a winter with relatively little snow, we got 9 feet in 3 days, the heavy wet kind. Headline in the Anchorage paper was “Giant Trash Compactor Ruins Summer Dreams.” That roof collapsed crushing two stories of boats into 6 feet of junk. Moral is you get snow in Alaska, your structures better be built to hold it, or as mentioned above, shovel it off.

  5. Take your guess, just maybe(?) SOMEONE might be suggesting they move the legislation sessions to Anchorage. Who knows, it might be better.. since the snow on roofs destroying buildings and the chances of a greater inability for people to get there by plane or ferry along with the stores’ supplies running out?. It sure would a great suggestion to do so.. if not, We know what will happen…More social hours(parties) spent by our $$$..at the bars.

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