A snow plow pulls off of Glacier Highway to clear the sidewalks near a bus stop during heavy snow fall on Monday morning. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

A snow plow pulls off of Glacier Highway to clear the sidewalks near a bus stop during heavy snow fall on Monday morning. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Flaky weather: Heavy snow was expected, an inch or 2 fell

When it rains, it snows.

While much of Alaska experienced heavy snowfall on Monday, Juneau got by with lighter-than-predicted conditions. Meteorologist Grant Smith said much of Southeast can expect a mixture of rain with snow more than heavy accumulation.

“Just based on some of the other snow reports I’ve seen, warnings out from the Anchorage area are pushing close to 15 to 25 inches whereas compared to here in Southeast we’re currently looking at 1 to 2 inches and maybe we might finish with another one to two inches on top of that, but nothing like what they’re seeing throughout the rest of the state, that’s for sure,” Smith said.

Smith said that the main issue the weather service was observing was the lack of moisture coming in with the storm front. Additionally, Smith said the other unexpected issue for Monday had been wind.

“The winds picked up a lot faster and that’s helped with blowing some of the snow around and reducing visibility,” Smith said. “So just going forward, once this front clears the area then we’ll have a secondary push of cooler wind move in and that may give us a little bit of snow tonight and into tomorrow, but at this point we’re not expecting to see as much as previously expected.”

Smith added that going into the mid to late part of the week, Juneau can expect more rain and snow mixture followed by the weekend with only dry and cloudy conditions. Other Southeast communities have seen more snow, but how much of it might later make its way to Juneau remains to be seen.

“The band of snow that we’re seeing on the satellite radar that’s coming from the west that moved over Gustavus, Pelican and Elfin Cove area and through reports we’ve received, those areas have seen 2 to 4 or 5 inches have fallen upstream from where we are in Juneau,” Smith said. “As the snow continues to lightly fall here in Juneau, that’s headed this way, but how much of that snow will ultimately make it here or will it get moderated out over the mountain.”

City and Borough of Juneau engineering and public works director Katie Koester said that while road conditions were still considered slick Monday afternoon, the streets within the Mendenhall Valley neighborhoods were looking decent with only an inch of accumulation at most. Koester confirmed that some of the more troubled areas that the CBJ fleets were encountering were on places such as Industrial Boulevard where exposure is higher, which allows for high winds to cause snow buildup. Koester said fleet crews continue to focus on sanding the major streets such as Riverside Drive, Nancy Street, Tongass Boulevard, Glacier Highway, Back Loop Road and all of the intersections off of Mendenhall Loop Road.

The Alaska Veterans Affairs Healthcare System released an email informing people that veteran offices throughout Anchorage, Mat-Su, Soldotna, Homer, and Fairbanks were closed Monday due to inclement winter weather and treacherous road conditions, however, the Juneau Community-Based Outpatient Clinic maintained normal operations. All appointments were rescheduled, according to the VA.

School bus provider service First Student also announced they planned to use snow routes for school buses in Douglas only Monday morning and afternoon, as well. Further updates can be found at www.juneauschools.org.

CBJ also sent out a public service announcement regarding winter bus routes and current changes to the schedule. According to an email, while winter routes are in effect, the following changes are made, there is no service on Cordova Street and passengers should wait for the bus at the Breeze Inn stop. There is also no service on Franklin or Fourth Street and passengers should wait for the bus at the Downtown Transit Center stop. Additionally, when Capital Transit decides to make winter route changes for the day, alerts will be shared as quickly as possible through the Capital Transit website at juneaucapitaltransit.org or on CBJ’s official Facebook and Twitter accounts and through local radio stations.

CBJ added that winter route changes will not immediately be reflected in Google Maps or the transit app, so riders should always refer to the website for the best up to date information.

• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at jonson.kuhn@juneauempire.com.

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