Divers work to right a vessel capsized by snow in Don D. Statter Harbor in 2020. The Coast Guard and city both recently issued reminders to prepare for winter weather in the coming months. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Divers work to right a vessel capsized by snow in Don D. Statter Harbor in 2020. The Coast Guard and city both recently issued reminders to prepare for winter weather in the coming months. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

City, Coast Guard remind residents to ready for colder weather

The snow isn’t here yet, but it’s on the wind.

As Juneau transitions from the brisk autumn into a wet winter, with the possibility of snow flurries later in the week, both the city and U.S. Coast Guard shared reminders for how to contend with winter weather.

The advice centers on vehicles and their operation both in and out of the water.

“Perform routine vessel checks and verify that your contact information is up to date with your harbor or marina,” said Michael Folkerts, boating safety specialist for the Coast Guard’s 17th District. “Ice and snow can clog cockpit drains, causing additional weight loads that can push the waterline over scuppers and through hulls. A common cause of harbor sinkings are frozen and then cracked hulls, and failed fittings.”

[Juneau’s cheerleaders bring home a W]

Vessels capsize while moored to the pier after heavy snows each year.

Folkerts also emphasized the importance of appropriate survival gear, such as life jackets and dry suits. Survival time for a boater in the water during the winter is measured in minutes.

“Winter conditions can be rough on boats, and even rougher on boaters who end up in the water,” Folkerts said. “We can’t stress enough how dangerous and unforgiving Alaskan waters can be this time of year.”

The City and Borough of Juneau also had a reminder for its more landbound drivers, who, while less likely to die of exposure in the merciless ocean, are more likely to be driving — and parking — every day.

The CBJ Streets and Fleet Maintenance Division remindsed drivers that parking becomes more restrictive in snowy months, and to check before parking, as well as to watch out for yellow temporary no-parking signs that are often used after winter storms to help clear the area of snow.

Other reminders from the city include a request that residents not park in areas that prevent snow plows from accessing the area. In the Mendenhall Valley, plows will often plow in pairs, according to CBJ, so it’s best to wait for the roadway to be completely plowed before clearing a snow berm.

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

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