Record-setting rainfall washed through Juneau Monday and Tuesday, triggering landslides and rendering roads impassable.
“We have widespread damage all over the place,” said Capital City Fire/Rescue acting assistant chief Sam Russell in a phone interview. “We did have several medical calls while all this went on, which complicates things.”
Falling trees, power outages and washed-out roads were scattered across Juneau as more than 5 inches of rain fell Monday and Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.
“It sounded like an avalanche. We heard trees cracking and falling. thankfully we were able to get cars out of the way, and then the water came…like a big wave,” said Mandy Cole, executive director of AWARE, speaking about the organization’s shelter. “There’s some mud inside. I’m a little worried about the basement. My main concern is the stability of the hillside.”
City and Borough of Juneau’s Streets and Fleets department has had its hands full with street washouts, said Breckan Hendricks, a streets contract compliance specialist. With 25 employees, the department is working to keep the roads passable.
“We have seven different areas that our crews are spread out and are tackling,” Hendricks said in a phone interview. “Our valley crew ended up assisting our town crew.”
The number of trouble areas is constantly changing, Hendricks said, but there are no reports of any damage besides flooding and debris on the roads yet.
Severe weather also took out a tree, crushing a trailer in Lemon Creek, Russell said. While the occupant was not severely injured, they were transported to Bartlett Regional Hospital as a precaution. Other damage included decks being wiped out, roads being flooded and a precautionary evacuation from a house, Russell said.
There was also the first avalanche of the 2020 winter season, according to Capital City Fire/Rescue’s social media, which came close to but didn’t cross Thane Road. More avalanches are expected, according to the post.
Twin Lakes Park and Salmon Creek Trail are both closed to the public due to substantial landslide activity, according to a city news release. Twin Lakes Park will be closed till Friday while CBJ Parks and Recreation staff clear debris, according to CBJ.
Additionally, a rockslide damaged the water supply line from Salmon Creek Dam to CBJ’s Salmon Creek Water Filtration Plant, according to the city. However, the damage is not a cause for concern.
The city’s primary water supply, Last Chance Basin, and six city water tanks are still functioning and can meet the community’s water needs, according to the city. That means the public water system is not in danger of running out of the water and emergency precautions do not need to be taken.