A winter storm warning issued Saturday afternoon forecasts a total of 22 to 29 inches of snow for Juneau by 6 p.m. Monday, with several inches falling so far starting Friday night. (National Weather Service Juneau)

A winter storm warning issued Saturday afternoon forecasts a total of 22 to 29 inches of snow for Juneau by 6 p.m. Monday, with several inches falling so far starting Friday night. (National Weather Service Juneau)

Storm warning: 22 to 29 inches of snow forecast for Juneau by Monday night

Avalanche risk high as increasingly wet snow layers on top of light-density snow, forecaster says

A storm is expected to dump 22 to 29 inches of snow on Juneau by Monday evening, due to unusual accumulation from multiple arriving weather systems, according to a National Weather Service Juneau forecast issued Saturday afternoon.

The risk of avalanches will also be high and “nearing extreme” by Monday as increasingly wet, heavy snow layers on top of the light-density accumulation Saturday, according to Tom Mattice, emergency programs manager for the City and Borough of Juneau.

Some parts of Juneau have already received as much as 13 inches of snow as of 3:30 p.m. Saturday, although accumulation varies considerably by area, said Greg Spann, a meteorologist for NWS Juneau. While a storm warning on Saturday morning forecast heavy snow until 6 a.m. Sunday, the warning was extended during the afternoon to 9 p.m. Monday.

One factor in the heavy accumulation was a cold snap — with temperatures dropping as low as two degrees on Friday — just before the snow arrived.

“We have multiple systems showing up,” Spann said. “Not all of them are necessarily all that strong. But what they all have in common is they’re all moving into this pre-existing air mass, that cold air that we had from the most recent outflow event. And so as a result we’ve seen some fantastic snow ratios.”

He said snow ratios of 40-to-1 and above have been measured, meaning one inch of precipitation resulting in 40 inches of snow accumulation, “which are uncommon, to say the least.” That means the snowfall so far is light in density, but that is expected to change as temperatures warm and make the snow’s water content higher on Sunday.

“There will be some occasional relative lulls with the snow to some degree between these waves of systems as they go through,” Spann said. “But once again we are expecting these systems to keep on coming by, so we’re just going to see round after round of snow.”

A warning about avalanches by was issued on Facebook early Saturday evening by Mattice, stating the risk level is going “from considerable to high tonight and nearing extreme by Monday.” The concern, he said, is the snow layers resulting from an “upside down” storm.

“All this snow is coming in on a shallow snowpack with multiple faceted layers and wind slab on top,” he wrote. The result is that in addition to a high risk of avalanches “these slides will be large and fast traveling long distances.”

Many other Southeast communities are seeing similar weather — although, as within Juneau, accumulation totals vary widely — with Pelican the hardest hit as of mid-afternoon with more than 13 inches of snow, Spann said.

The forecast for Juneau on Tuesday — the first day of the legislative session — and the days beyond call for drying conditions, he said.

• Contact Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com or (907) 957-2306.

More in News

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Aurora forecast for the week of April 8

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

Juneau Assembly members and other visitors examine a meeting room formerly used by the nine-member Alaska State Board of Education and Early Development on Monday, April 8, which is about 25% larger than the Assembly Chambers at City Hall. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Of three possible new City Hall buildings, one stands out — but plenty of proposed uses for other two

Michael J. Burns Building eyed as city HQ; childcare, animal shelter among options at school sites.

Senate President Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, speaks to members of the Senate majority caucus’ leadership group on Friday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Schools, university and projects across Alaska are set to receive money from new budget bill

Alaska Senate sends draft capital budget to House as work continues on a state spending plan

The Boney Courthouse in downtown Anchorage, across the street from the larger Nesbett Courthouse, holds the Alaska Supreme Court chambers. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska judge strikes down state’s cash payments to families using correspondence school programs

Decision will become a ‘hot-button legislative item’ in final weeks of session, lawmakers say.

A statue of William Henry Seward stands outside the Dimond Courthouse in downtown Juneau. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Juneau man convicted of sexual abuse of 15-year-old girl more than four years after incidents occur

JPD: Randy James Willard, 39, sent explicit videos to and engaged in sexual contact with victim.

Capital Transit buses stop at the Valley Transit Center on Thursday. Two bus routes serving areas of the Mendenhall Valley and near the airport will temporarily be discontinued starting April 22 due to lack of staff. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Capital Transit temporarily suspending two Mendenhall Valley routes due to shortage of drivers

Officials hope to fix situation by July; extra tourist buses also scaled back due to fleet shortage.

A fenced lot proposed as a campsite for people experiencing homelessness located next to the city’s cold weather emergency shelter, in the background, is also next door to a businesses where extensive construction is scheduled, thus prompting city leaders to rethink the proposal. (Photo by Laurie Craig)
Indefinite ‘dispersed camping’ for homeless proposed by city leaders due to lack of suitable campsite

Proposed Rock Dump site is next to long-term construction, more costly than expected, report states.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, April 10, 2024

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

Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, watches as the tally board in the Alaska House of Representatives shows the vote against House Joint Resolution 7 on Thursday. Eastman supported the amendment. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska House votes down constitutional guarantee for Permanent Fund dividend

Guarantee had been discussed as part of long-term plan to bring state expenses in line with revenue.

Most Read