This National Weather Service map shows hazards around Southeast Alaska. An atmospheric river in the area has produced record-setting rain and flood watches throughout the region. (Screenshot)

This National Weather Service map shows hazards around Southeast Alaska. An atmospheric river in the area has produced record-setting rain and flood watches throughout the region. (Screenshot)

Heavy rain prompts flood advisories, avalanche concerns, road closures

A hard rain is gonna (continue to) fall.

Update, 9:30 a.m., Sunday: Thane Road was reopened on Sunday morning, Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, announced.

Also on Sunday, City and Borough of Juneau lowered the avalanche risk from high to considerable. People are still advised to avoid the Flume Trail and the gated area above the Behrends neighborhood, according to the city’s urban avalanche advisory.

***

New daily rainfall records were set Friday around Southeast Alaska, according to the National Weather Service, and more rain is in the forecast.

That’s led to flood advisories, elevated avalanche risk and road closures.

The CBJ avalanche advisory was Level 4 —High as of Saturday morning and will remain at that level through 7 a.m. Sunday.

“Expect to see Loose Wet and Wet Slab avalanches at lower to mid elevations and expect to see Wind Slab and Storm Slab avalanches at upper elevations,” wrote CBJ emergency programs manager Tom Mattice in an advisory issued Saturday. “If we see much warming the loose wet and wet slab avalanches will transition to uppermost elevations and yet it appears we may stay just cold enough to keep seeing a mix. Cornices will also be quite weak at all elevations and have built a great deal at uppermost elevations around the region. The snowpack has now started draining water at mid elevations and combined with high rains and warm temps again today could create full depth avalanches.”

Mattice advised avoiding the Flume Trail and to stay out of gated areas above the Behrends Avenue area. Both are avalanche-prone areas.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities announced Saturday morning Thane Road would be closed at the avalanche gates until further notice. In a later email, the department said an update would be provided at 8 a.m. Sunday. Similarly, Alex Holden Way near the Juneau International Airport, also called Air Cargo Road, is closed until further notice, according to CBJ.

Tenants that need access to the west side of the airport may do so through Gate E, according to the city.

Nearby, two flood advisories were in effect on Saturday. Those included an advisory in low-lying areas near Jordan Creek with a crest of nearly 10 feet expected at 9 p.m. on Saturday. Flood stage for the creek is 9.7 feet, according to the National Weather Service in Juneau. That advisory is set to expire at 6 p.m. on Sunday.

An advisory in effect through 6 p.m. on Saturday was issued for the Montana Creek area, too. A crest of 16.5 feet is expected around 3 p.m. Saturday. Flood stage for the creek is 15.5 feet, according to the National Weather Service.

Both advisories included the rhyming advice: “Turn around, don’t drown when encountering flooded roads. Most flood deaths occur in vehicles.”

Why all the rain?

“Right now, we have an atmospheric river passing through the area,” said Cody Moore, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Juneau. “It’s been pretty stationary in the area for the past 24 hours.”

An atmospheric river is a long, flowing region of the atmosphere that carries water vapor through the sky, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They typically begin in tropical regions. Moore said in this case, the moisture is coming from Hawaii.

The atmospheric river led to a recorded 3.48 inches of rainfall at Juneau International Airport, a new single-day high, and 4.25 inches at the National Weather Service’s Juneau office.

“The heaviest precipitation will continue through today,” Moore said.

However, once the atmospheric river passes, dryer times aren’t necessarily ahead.

New rainy systems are expected both Monday and Wednesday producing “very classic Juneau Weather,” Moore said.

He said those systems look weaker than the weekend’s atmospheric river, but flooding will likely remain a concern.

“Even though the flood watch expires tonight, that doesn’t mean we’re not looking at more potential for flooding in the coming week,” Moore said.

• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.

More in News

In this Empire file photo, a Princess Cruise Line ship is seen docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021.(Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire file)
Ships in Port for the week of May 15, 2022

This information comes from the Cruise Line Agencies of Alaska’s 2022 schedule.… Continue reading

Teaser
Judge orders board adopt interim redistricting map

The decision comes in a second round of redistricting challenges.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Tuesday, May 17, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

In this October 2019 photo, Zac Watt, beertender for Forbidden Peak Brewery, pours a beer during the grand opening for the Auke Bay business in October 2019. Alcoholic beverage manufacturers and dispensers recently came to an agreement  on a bill that could bring live music and extended hours to breweries. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Of the more than 460 stoOf the more than 460 stocks managed by NOAA, 322 have a known overfishing status (296 not subject to overfishing and 26 subject to overfishing) and 252 have a known overfished status (201 not overfished and 51 overfished). (Courtesy Image / NOAA)
Southeast fisheries hoping for less turbulent waters

Regions and species see wildly variably conditions due to climate and COVID-19, according to two new NOAA reports.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Saturday, May 14, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Oil rigs stand in the Loco Hills field along U.S. Highway 82 in Eddy County, near Artesia, N.M., one of the most active regions of the Permian Basin. Government budgets are booming in New Mexico. The reason behind the spending spree — oil. New Mexico is the No. 2 crude oil producer among U.S. states and the top recipient of U.S. disbursements for fossil fuel production on federal land. But a budget flush with petroleum cash has a side effect: It also puts the spotlight on how difficult it is for New Mexico and other states to turn their rhetoric on tackling climate change into reality. (AP Photo / Jeri Clausing)
States struggle to replace fossil fuel tax revenue

Federal, state and local governments receive about $138B a year from the fossil fuel industry.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Friday, May 13, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

This photo published in AP World Magazine in Fall 1998 shows Dean Fosdick on election night in Anchorage, Alaska. Fosdick, the Associated Press journalist who filed the news alert informing the world of the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, has died. He died April 27, 2022, in Florida at the age of 80. His longtime career with the news service included 15 years as the bureau chief in Alaska. (AP Photo/File)
Longtime AP Alaska bureau chief Dean Fosdick dies at age 80

He filed the news alert informing the world of the Exxon Valdez grounding.

Most Read