avalanche

The roof of a building bears the weight of multiple feet of snow following two storms during the past two weeks that have dumped more than 60 inches of snow on some parts of Juneau. (Capital City Fire/Rescue photo)

Structures collapse under snow weight, avalanches triggered downtown as storm nears end

Warnings issued for avalanche zones, buildings under heavy weight loads and travel on icy roads.

 

The National Weather Service Juneau office near the Mendenhall Glacier has a snowpack depth of 33 inches as of about midnight Tuesday, following two heavy storms during the past 10 days, according to the station. (National Weather Service Juneau)

Avalanche warnings, closures continue as marathon storm leaves record snowfall

Juneau shatters snow record for Jan. 22; forecaster says avalanches “could begin to endanger homes.”

 

A map shows areas of downtown Juneau currently considered at severe (red) and moderate (blue) risk of avalanches. (City and Borough of Juneau)

Assembly OKs new avalanche and landslide maps, with strong disclaimer for latter

Ordinance passes despite property owners’ objections, but discussion about its specifics not over.

 

A map shows areas of downtown Juneau considered at severe (red) and moderate (blue) risk of avalanches. The Juneau Assembly is scheduled on Monday to give initial consideration to an ordinance regulating development in such areas. (City and Borough of Juneau)

Assembly to consider new hazard zone proposal to regulate avalanche areas, notify landslide risks

Warming shelter, off-road vehicle park, Suicide Basin monitoring also on agenda for Monday’s meeting.

A map shows areas of downtown Juneau considered at severe (red) and moderate (blue) risk of avalanches. The Juneau Assembly is scheduled on Monday to give initial consideration to an ordinance regulating development in such areas. (City and Borough of Juneau)
Mountains tower over downtown Juneau Wednesday morning. On Tuesday night the City and Borough of Juneau’s Planning Commission unanimously passed a motion to not recommend the adoption of new hazard maps and policy based on them to the Assembly. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Planning Commission urges rejection of new hazard maps and policy

The decision came after nearly 20 rounds of public testimony advocating against the maps.

Mountains tower over downtown Juneau Wednesday morning. On Tuesday night the City and Borough of Juneau’s Planning Commission unanimously passed a motion to not recommend the adoption of new hazard maps and policy based on them to the Assembly. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Emergency organizations and search and rescue groups gathered on Friday, Feb. 25, to practice urban avalanche rescues in a large-scale exercise. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)
Emergency organizations and search and rescue groups gathered on Friday, Feb. 25, to practice urban avalanche rescues in a large-scale exercise. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)
Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire 
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities triggered an avalanche as a mitigation measure above Thane Road on April 15, 2021.

City plans ahead for future avalanche seasons

More snow isn’t bad, but dynamic weather makes predicting avalanches tricky

Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire 
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities triggered an avalanche as a mitigation measure above Thane Road on April 15, 2021.
The Behrends Avenue avalanche chute is visible above the Breakwater Inn on Feb. 27, 2021, when extreme avalanche risk prompted evacuation of the area. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Avalanche risk lowered, but the danger is still there

While the immediate risk is lessened, Juneau isn’t out of the deep end yet.

The Behrends Avenue avalanche chute is visible above the Breakwater Inn on Feb. 27, 2021, when extreme avalanche risk prompted evacuation of the area. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)
City and Borough of Juneau emergency program manager Tom Mattice stands outside Centennial Hall, appropriated as an evacuation shelter for those in the path of possible avalanches on Feb. 27, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Update: Avalanche danger remains high

Natural avalanches likely, and human triggered avalanches are very likely

City and Borough of Juneau emergency program manager Tom Mattice stands outside Centennial Hall, appropriated as an evacuation shelter for those in the path of possible avalanches on Feb. 27, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)
This map shows the Behrends Avenue Avalanche Path. City and Borough of Juneau recommends residents who live within the path evacuate their residences due to increasing risk of avalanche danger. Centennial Hall will open as an emergency shelter at 8 p.m. (Courtesy Image / CBJ)
This map shows the Behrends Avenue Avalanche Path. City and Borough of Juneau recommends residents who live within the path evacuate their residences due to increasing risk of avalanche danger. Centennial Hall will open as an emergency shelter at 8 p.m. (Courtesy Image / CBJ)
Tucker Cooper, a member of the ski patrol at Eaglecrest Ski Area, measures an area where snow has broken off in an avalanche on Feb. 21, 2021. All of Juneau is at a high risk of avalanches due to a unique set of circumstances on the weekend of Feb. 27, 2021. (Courtesy photo / Calder Otsea)

Juneau area at high risk for ‘historic’ avalanches

A month of weird weather has created a uniquely loaded set of dice.

Tucker Cooper, a member of the ski patrol at Eaglecrest Ski Area, measures an area where snow has broken off in an avalanche on Feb. 21, 2021. All of Juneau is at a high risk of avalanches due to a unique set of circumstances on the weekend of Feb. 27, 2021. (Courtesy photo / Calder Otsea)
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities used the DaisyBell device on Feb. 21, 2021 to precisely trigger controlled avalanches above Thane Road, reducing the chances of a catastrophic natural avalanche, similar to the same practice shown above in 2020. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire File)
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities used the DaisyBell device on Feb. 21, 2021 to precisely trigger controlled avalanches above Thane Road, reducing the chances of a catastrophic natural avalanche, similar to the same practice shown above in 2020. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire File)
The Alaska Department of Transportation uses the DaisyBell device to precisely trigger controlled avalanches above Thane Road, reducing the chances of a catastrophic natural avalanche, Feb. 11, 2020. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)
Video
The Alaska Department of Transportation uses the DaisyBell device to precisely trigger controlled avalanches above Thane Road, reducing the chances of a catastrophic natural avalanche, Feb. 11, 2020. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)
Video
Snowboarder dies in avalanche near Haines
Snowboarder dies in avalanche near Haines
Avalanche mitigation has a new look and sound

Avalanche mitigation has a new look and sound

It sparked curiosity, but didn’t bother the dogs.

Avalanche mitigation has a new look and sound
New tool directs explosions to prevent avalanches
New tool directs explosions to prevent avalanches
Snow-removal crews work in White Pass during the winter of 2015-2016. (Hal Hartman | Courtesy photo)

Keeping Klondike Highway open isn’t just a blast

The State of Alaska is looking for someone who enjoys working with explosives and coping with avalanches. Last week, the Alaska Department of Transportation and… Continue reading

Snow-removal crews work in White Pass during the winter of 2015-2016. (Hal Hartman | Courtesy photo)