A bald eagle perches above Steep Creek at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017. The National Weather Service says Juneau could receive as much as 6 inches of snow by noon Tuesday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire file)

A bald eagle perches above Steep Creek at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017. The National Weather Service says Juneau could receive as much as 6 inches of snow by noon Tuesday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire file)

Juneau will have a white(r) Thanksgiving

Juneau won’t have to dream of a white Thanksgiving. It’ll soon be here, just like the ones it used to know.

The National Weather Service is forecasting another 3-6 inches of snowfall for the capital city, and this year will have the 25th snowy Thanksgiving since measurements began at the airport in 1937. It’ll also be the third snowy Thanksgiving in a row at the airport, the city’s official measuring point.

The number of snowy Thanksgivings was tabulated by Brian Brettschneider of the University of Alaska Anchorage, using Weather Service data.

Snowfall totals are expected to be highest in the Mendenhall Valley and lower downtown and in Douglas and West Juneau.

Snowfall began Monday afternoon at the Empire’s offices, and according to the Weather Service, it was expected to intensify throughout the night, with the heaviest snowfall expected Tuesday morning. The snow was expected to taper off Tuesday afternoon and evening, according to the Monday morning forecast discussion.

After a brief intermission, snow flurries are expected to resume Wednesday and Thursday morning before warmer air arrives and turns Black Friday into a slushy and icy experience for the capital city. Temperatures will dip below freezing at night and rise above freezing, particularly in sunny locations, from Thanksgiving through the weekend, the Weather Service said. Forecasts are still somewhat tentative on what areas will receive rain and which areas will receive snow from that second storm, the Weather Service cautioned.

Juneau is enjoying an unusually cold and snowy November, with 15.7 inches of snowfall recorded at the airport by Monday morning. In a normal winter, Juneau would have had 7.6 inches of snow by this point. Temperatures have averaged 28 degrees this month, six and a half degrees below normal. That’s the coldest November since 2006, when temperatures averaged 19.4 degrees. This November is also the most aberrantly cold since December 2008, which finished 7.6 degrees below the current normal.

This month’s snowfall was boosted by 10.2 inches of snow that fell Friday at the airport. Snow fell heavily across the capital city, with 11 inches in the Mendenhall Valley, 9.2 inches at the base of Eaglecrest, 8 inches in West Juneau, 6 inches downtown, and 6.4 inches in Auke Bay.

Chairlifts at Eaglecrest Ski Area will begin running Dec. 2. The ski area is asking anyone who uses the slopes before then to watch out for equipment at work.


• Contact reporter James Brooks at james.k.brooks@juneauempire.com or call 523-2258.


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