Peter Segall / Juneau Empire                                 Gold Creek in Cope Park was flowing fast Monday, July 27, 2020. The National Weather Service said more rain was expected at the weekend, but that things should clear up mid-week.

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire Gold Creek in Cope Park was flowing fast Monday, July 27, 2020. The National Weather Service said more rain was expected at the weekend, but that things should clear up mid-week.

Juneau on track to break summer rainfall records

Juneau on track to break summer rainfall records

A lot of water came down on the Alaska panhandle over the weekend, with some areas of Southeast getting up to 3 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service.

“To say today has been wet would be an understatement for most places across the panhandle,” the NWS’ forecast discussion for Southeast said on Sunday. “(Twenty-four-hour) rain amounts have been impressive. Most places have received between one to 2.5 inches of rain with terrain influenced areas reporting nearly three inches.”

NWS Juneau Meteorologist Cody Moore said in a phone interview that a terrain-influenced area is where geographic features such as mountains can affect the amount of rain. The Juneau area has a number of microclimates, Moore said, which makes it so the weather might be drastically different just a few miles apart.

“Douglas got about three times as much rain as the airport did,” Moore said, thanks to a process called “orographic lifting,” which is when air is rapidly forced upward after hitting a mountain face. That rapid upward movement of air, “squeezes the rain out of the clouds,” Moore said, which is why downtown Juneau and Douglas got substantially more rain over the weekend than the Mendenhall Valley.

[State sets another daily record with 231 new virus cases]

Things will be clearing up mid-week, Moore said, with Wednesday expected to be mostly sunny. Rain is expected to return by the weekend as of Monday afternoon was a bit too early to be sure of the weekend forecast, he said.

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire                                 The banks of the Mendenhall River were high on Sunday, July 26, 2020. National Weather Service is monitoring the river’s potentially dangerous water level rise.

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire The banks of the Mendenhall River were high on Sunday, July 26, 2020. National Weather Service is monitoring the river’s potentially dangerous water level rise.

But more rain is expected, in fact, this summer is on track to break rainfall records for Juneau, Moore said. The average amount of rain for a Juneau summer is 13 inches, he said, which the area had already reached as of July 26. The last summer to break records was 2014, Moore said, which had 14 inches of rainfall. Last summer, which was extremely dry, he said, received 10 inches.

If the summer’s pattern continues, Moore said, Juneau is likely to break 2014’s record.

“We’ve seen system after system after system with little breaks in between,” he said. “It’s not unusual to have this much rain, but it’s been nearing record levels.”

All that rainfall has led to some rivers being put on watch for rising levels, Moore said. Rivers are designated by “stages” in terms of the amount of flooding or danger of flooding, according to Moore. On Monday, the Mendenhall River was designated as “action stage,” meaning local officials were monitoring the river for potentially dangerous water level rises, Moore said.

The weather service is also monitoring Suicide Basin, Moore said, a glacial-dammed lake that fills at this time of year and eventually drains into Mendenhall Lake. Although NWS doesn’t do any forecasting on when the basin might drain, all the rain means its being watched.

“We’re monitoring the basin closely,” Moore said.

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire                                 Gold Creek in Cope Park was flowing fast Monday, July 27, 2020. The National Weather Service said more rain was expected at the weekend, but that things should clear up mid-week.

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire Gold Creek in Cope Park was flowing fast Monday, July 27, 2020. The National Weather Service said more rain was expected at the weekend, but that things should clear up mid-week.

• Contact reporter Peter Segall at psegall@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnoEmpire.

More in News

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Aurora forecast for the week of Feb. 26

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024

For Thursday, Feb. 29 Assault At 5:49 p.m. on Thursday, a 17-year-old… Continue reading

The Alaska Supreme Court is seen on Thursday, Feb. 8, in Juneau. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska Supreme Court decides key question: Who is an Alaskan?

An Alaskan is someone physically present in the state who intends to… Continue reading

Pink salmon are seen in an undated photo. (NOAA Fisheries photo)
New salmon study adds to evidence that pink salmon could be crowding out sockeye

A new analysis of nearly 25,000 fish scales offers more evidence that… Continue reading

Liana Wallace offers a water blessing during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Augustus G. Brown Swimming Pool on Friday following nearly a year of renovations. The pool is scheduled to reopen for public use on Tuesday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Ribbon-cutting for Augustus G. Brown Swimming Pool a blessing for longtime users after 11-month renovation

Infrastructure upgrades, new locker rooms and student tile art in lobby greet visitors at ceremony.

The Alaska State Capitol in Juneau is seen on Friday, Feb. 23. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska Legislature plans March 12 vote on Gov. Dunleavy’s executive orders

Order giving governor full control of Alaska Marine Highway Operations board among six scheduled.

Brenda Josephson, a Haines resident, testifies in favor of a bill setting statewide standards for municipal property assessors during a state Senate Community and Regional Affairs Committee hearing Thursday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Statewide standards for municipal property assessments sought in bill by Juneau lawmaker

Some residents say legislation doesn’t go far enough, want limits on annual valuation increases.

The front page of the Juneau Empire on Feb. 26, 2004. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Empire Archives: Juneau’s history for the week of March 2

Three decades of capital city coverage.

Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, speaks Thursday, April 27, 2023, at a news conference in Juneau. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska House considers constitutional guarantee for Permanent Fund dividend

The Alaska House of Representatives will vote as soon as Friday morning… Continue reading

Most Read