Snow blankets a statue in front of the Alaska State Capitol. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)

Snow blankets a statue in front of the Alaska State Capitol. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)

A white Christmas is in Juneau’s forecast

Winter storm warning issued through the holiday.

This article has been moved in front of the Juneau Empire’s paywall because it concerns a severe weather event.

A white Christmas won’t be relegated to dreams this year.

The National Weather Service in Juneau has issued a winter storm warning that’s expected to be in effect from Friday and into the weekend, and up to 30 inches of snow are anticipated across the holiday weekend in the capital city.

Juneau meteorologist and forecaster Rick Fritsch said that people can expect slightly different start times for snow depending on what part of town they’re in, but Friday night all of Junea can anticipate seeing heavy snowfall, which will start in the south and migrate north.

“By around 4 p.m. tomorrow we can expect snow to start down south,” Fritsch said. “By Friday morning we can expect to see snow in the Juneau area and from Friday morning through Friday night and through Saturday and into Christmas we’re expecting snow. With daytime high temperatures in Juneau ranging from 16 degrees to high 20s downtown and only by Christmas Day will we actually get up to freezing temperatures downtown. It won’t be until Tuesday before we can expect to see any kind of meaningful rain.”

In terms of what people can expect for accumulation, Fritsch said for the entire duration of snowfall from Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Juneau can potentially see close to 30 inches. According to Fritsch, 4 inches of snowfall within 12 hours is considered a winter weather advisory and 6 inches within 12 hours is considered a winter storm warning, which is what much of the holiday weekend will include.

“The first 12-hour window from late Thursday night and into Friday afternoon, we’ll see some snow but not terribly significant, it’ll cover the roads, make things look nice and white again, but then Friday night, this is when we start to see meaningful accumulation,” Fritsch said. “Friday night into Saturday morning we could be looking at anywhere from 6 to 8 inches depending on where you’re at in Juneau. Going on further into Saturday, we’re looking at pretty much the same thing during the daylight hours, another 6 to 8 possible. Then finally, Saturday night and into Christmas Day, we’ll see just a little bit less with 5 to 7 inches, but still, that’s three 12-hour windows of 6 to 8 inches between Friday night, Saturday, and Saturday night.”

Additionally, Fritsch said temperatures are moderating, and at this point Juneau is beyond the worst of the extreme cold temperatures but still advises it’s a good idea to keep track of things such as plumbing and pets, as well as friends, neighbors or other people needing to get indoors from the cold overnight because according to Fritsch it’s still going to be cold.

“Once the snow starts falling, the usual things that we talk about in situations like this is take your time and leave a little bit earlier than usual, plan on having to deal with snow before you have to get out the door or the driveway,” Fritsch said. “If you do own a boat and it’s kept at one of the harbors, you definitely want to get that snow pushed off before it gets so heavy that the boat capsizes.”

• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at

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