Schools and bus routes are cancelled in Juneau following heavy snow, Feb. 4, 2020. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

Schools and bus routes are cancelled in Juneau following heavy snow, Feb. 4, 2020. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

Snow causes closings for schools, bus service across Juneau

Before 2019, Juneau hadn’t had a snow day for schools in 10 years

All Juneau schools and the Federal building were closed Tuesday because of heavy snow, and city buses ran on their winter contingency routes, according to a post on the City and Borough of Juneau Facebook page.

“We did get a bit of snow. Here at the office, we got — between midnight last night and about 3 a.m. — we recorded 6.8 inches over a 27-hour period,” said Jake Ruckman, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Juneau. “At the airport, during the 24 hours from midnight to midnight, we recorded 4.6 inches.

North Douglas got approximately 10 inches and Lena Point got around 4 inches, Ruckman said.

It’s rare for Juneau schools to get a snow day. There was just one school snow day last year, but before that, it had been 10 years since the schools were closed due to snowy weather.

“The decision to close schools is generally made by 5:00 a.m. by the Superintendent in consultation with the First Student Bus Company Manager and our City and Borough of Juneau City Manager,” Juneau School District Chief of Staff Kristin Bartlett said in an email. “For the safety of students, families and staff, Superintendent Bridget Weiss decided to close schools and district programs.”

City buses didn’t operate on Cordova Street, Davis Avenue, Lemon Creek Road and Franklin and Fourth streets Downtown, according to the CBJ Facebook page.

“It’s above normal for any given day, but not impossible,” Ruckman said. “Any areas that are still seeing snow, it’s going to transition over to rain, if it hasn’t already.”

Ruckman said that Juneau should expect to see warmer temperatures for the rest of the week, hovering in the mid to high 30s, and then anything falling from the sky would likely be rain.

“If you don’t have to drive, and the schools are giving your kids the day off, stay off the roads and let the plows do the work,” Ruckman said.

CBJ offices were open, according to City Manager Rorie Watt. The Dimond Courthouse was also open for regular business, said Neil Nesheim, a court administrator.

Teena Larson, CBJ Docks and Harbors administrative officer, sent out a notice for boat owners to check their vessels for snow. Heavy snow may have been a factor in a vessel partially sinking a couple of weeks ago.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757.621.1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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