Cars parked on a hillside road near downtown are buried under heavy snow at midday Monday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Cars parked on a hillside road near downtown are buried under heavy snow at midday Monday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Update: Avalanche closes Thane Road; schools closed Tuesday due to storm

City offices and facilities scheduled to open at 10 a.m.; dry weather expected Tuesday

This is a developing story.

Update 6:45 p.m. Monday: An avalanche occurred in the Thane Road avalanche zone early this evening, according to the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. “Thane Road will remain closed through the night and our crew will assess first thing tomorrow morning. An update will be sent when more information is available.”

The road is closed to all access except emergency traffic, according to an announcement from the City and Borough of Juneau.

“No structures have been affected at this time,” the announcement states. “In the avalanche area, snow is covering the road at a depth of approximately 1.5 – 2 feet. Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities is working to clear the road at this time. Residents and homeowners in the Thane Road area are encouraged to stay alert to their surroundings and to current weather conditions. In the event of an emergency, call 911 immediately.”

Update 5 p.m. Monday: All Juneau School District schools and programs will be closed Tuesday due to weather conditions, the district announced Monday evening.

“Heavy snow on roads and sidewalks could make travel to schools and bus stops difficult, so for the safety of our staff and families schools will not be in session,” the district’s announcement states. “All classes, RALLY, meetings, and after school activities have been canceled. There will be no remote learning or online classes.”

Certificated and classified school-term employees, along with substitute, temporary and hourly employees do not report to work, according to the district.

“Administrators, supervisors, and classified employees (except school-term employees), report to work as usual if/when it is safe to do so,” the announcement states. “Contact your supervisor with any questions or for specific instructions.”

A special meeting of the Board of Education, primarily to discuss an unexpected $9.5 million deficit presented to the board last week, is still scheduled at 6 p.m., but via Zoom only rather than in-person.

City and Borough of Juneau offices and facilities are scheduled to open at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Original story: A travel advisory was issued by the city due to a snowstorm that has dumped about two feet of snow in some parts of Juneau between Friday night and midday Monday, resulting in hazardous conditions, limited visibility and high risk of avalanches, according to official reports.

A winter storm warning is in effect until 9 p.m. Monday, according to the National Weather Service Juneau, which in a Facebook post at about 11 a.m. reported receiving a total of 22.9 inches of snow at its station in the Mendenhall Valley. An official forecast updated at about 10:15 a.m. stated an additional six inches of snow is possible by tonight.

A statement issued by the City and Borough of Juneau stated the streets department “is working hard to clear the roads, but driving conditions remain poor in many areas.”

“Please avoid unnecessary travel whenever possible for the safety of yourself and others,” the statement notes. “If driving is necessary, use extreme caution.”

Capital Transit is running on winter routes, with service suspended on Cordova, Franklin and 4th streets.

A boat in harbor lists heavily due to the weight of fresh snow. City harbor officials are urging vessel owners to clear boats and boat shelters from snow since some are in danger of sinking. (City and Borough of Juneau photo)

A boat in harbor lists heavily due to the weight of fresh snow. City harbor officials are urging vessel owners to clear boats and boat shelters from snow since some are in danger of sinking. (City and Borough of Juneau photo)

The city also warned boat owners “to make sure their vessels and structures are cleared of snow and all pumps are operating correctly, their boats are not taking on any water, and all mooring lines are secure.”

For more information about winter maintenance and the CBJ road maintenance priority map, please visit CBJ Winter Maintenance Information. For information about State of Alaska road maintenance, visit the Department of Transportation and Public Facility’s Winter Road Maintenance Priority Map.

DOT issued a statement at midday Monday that avalanche hazard reduction above Thane Road is scheduled between noon and 2 p.m. Tuesday.

“Thane Road will be closed at the avalanche gates during that time,” the statement notes. “The purpose of this mission is to remove accumulated snow and potentially reduce the risk of larger avalanches that could impact Thane Road. If an avalanche reaches the roadway, it is likely that an extended closure will be necessary to remove debris.”

Alaska Airlines was operating most flights, with some delays and one cargo flight cancellation Monday evening, while some smaller regional carriers were experiencing delays and cancellations, according to the tracking site FlightRadar24.

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

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