Stupendous showers should soak snowpack

Rain is on the way.

Rain is on the way.

Juneau’s heaviest single-day snowfall since March 2013 is about to get a lot heavier.

The National Weather Service is forecasting 3-5 inches of rain to fall on the capital city between Friday morning and Saturday afternoon. The rain is expected to soak into the snowpack, creating a heavy and slushy mixture that poses a threat to tree branches and boats alike.

The City and Borough of Juneau Docks and Harbors Department is warning boaters that snow-laden boats will not drain properly, and the weight of soggy snow has been a danger to boats before.

The rain also threatens to create soppy conditions on area roads as snow clogs storm drains and culverts.

Making matters worse are freezing temperatures expected on Saturday evening and Sunday. With a thawing cycle followed rapidly by a freeze-up, conditions will be ripe for extremely icy conditions.

By 3 p.m. Thursday, another 1.3 inches of snow was reported at Juneau International Airport, bringing the monthly total to 15.7 inches. That figure is more than double normal for this point in the month.

If the month ended today, it would still be the 23rd-snowiest November since record-keeping began at the airport in 1943. The record is held by November 1994, which saw 69.8 inches of snow.

On a larger scale, the capital city is approaching the record for the wettest year. In 1991, Juneau received 85.15 inches of precipitation (rain and melted snow combined). Through 3 p.m. Thursday, the capital city had received 77.77 inches of precipitation.

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