High winds blow snow out of the Sheep Creek valley south of downtown Juneau in March 2013. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

High winds blow snow out of the Sheep Creek valley south of downtown Juneau in March 2013. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

A cold wind blows: Taku Winds coming Friday

The beginning of the weekend will be a blustery one.

The National Weather Service station in Juneau has issued a high wind warning for late Thursday through Friday at midnight.

“We’re looking at gusts of up to 80 mph,” said Brian Bezenek, a meteorologist for the NWS in Juneau. “There will be sustained winds of 20-30 mph.”

This will be the first appearance of the Taku winds this year. They’ve been largely absent this winter.

“You can get as few as one or two in a year or you could get quite a few,” Bezenek said. “They could last for a day or two or they could last for a week or more.”

The winds will hit downtown Juneau and Douglas the hardest, Bezenek said.

“It’s one of the areas that we have a low level spot in the ridge that it’s easier for the air to flow through that,” Bezenek said. “It just so happens that Douglas is on the other side and parts of downtown are right on the edge.”

With winds expected to gust at 80 mph on Friday, Bezenek warned that being outside could be deleterious to one’s health, with loose objects likely to be blown at high speeds. Bezenek also warned that the wind chill will be below zero degrees, making the risk of frostbite on exposed skin more likely.

Taku winds come from large masses of cold air on the other side of the mountains in Canada, Bezenek said. The Taku, a type of mountain wave, develops from a pressure imbalance that pulls the wind through passes in the mountains and down the side of the mountains, where they’ve been clocked at more than 80 mph as recently as 2011.

The NWS warning also advised people to be aware that blowing snow might reduce visibility, and that power outages caused by downed lines might be possible. The Taku is also expected to complicate driving.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of June 22

Here’s what to expect this week.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, June 20, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Pins supporting the repeal of ranked choice voting are seen on April 20 at the Republican state convention in Anchorage. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
State judge upholds most fines against group seeking repeal of Alaska ranked choice voting

An Anchorage Superior Court judge has ruled that opponents of Alaska’s ranked… Continue reading

Joshua Midgett and Kelsey Bryce Riker appear on stage as the emcees for MixCast 2023 at the Crystal Saloon. (Photo courtesy Juneau Ghost Light Theatre)
And now for someone completely different: Familiar faces show new personas at annual MixCast cabaret

Fundraiser for Juneau Ghost Light Theatre on Saturday taking place amidst week of local Pride events

Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire
A section of Angoon along the coast is seen on June 14. Angoon was destroyed by the U.S. Navy in 1882; here is where they first pulled up to shore.
Long-awaited U.S. Navy apology for 1882 bombardment will bring healing to Angoon

“How many times has our government apologized to any American Native group?”

Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon announced this week she plans to seek a third three-year term. (Juneau Empire file photo)
Mayor Beth Weldon seeking third term amidst personal and political challenges

Low mill rate, more housing cited by lifelong Juneau resident as achievements during past term.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, June 19, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

A king salmon is laid out for inspection by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game at the Mike Pusich Douglas Harbor during the Golden North Salmon Derby on Aug. 25, 2019. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file photo)
Emergency order bans king salmon fishing in many Juneau waters between June 24 and Aug. 31

Alaska Department of Fish and Game says low projected spawning population necessitates restrictions

Three cruise ships are docked along Juneau’s waterfront on the evening on May 10, as a Princess cruise ship on the right is departing the capital city. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Sitka residents join those in Juneau proposing hard caps on cruise ships as tourism grows

Two ballot measures could be presented to local voters in the two Southeast Alaska towns this fall

Most Read