Near Record Setting Snowfall in Juneau, Sinks Boats, Crushes Roofs, Poses Avalanche Threat

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Image: Sceeencap showing snow causing sinking boats – from the Juneau Harbormaster via their Facebook page.

Bitter cold and more than five feet of snowfall in just a few days have produced dangerous conditions in Juneau, Alaska.

Repeated bouts of heavy snow dumped more than 61 inches in Juneau on just a couple of days, breaking daily snowfall records, according to KTUU, Alaskasnewsource.com. Added to the snow already having fallen, by January 23 there was more than 80 inches of snowpack in and around Juneau. The heavy snow and biting cold resulted in city offices and schools closing, emergency shelters opening, and, as reported by The Weather Network, a number of boats docked in Juneau’s harbor sinking under the weight of the snow.

“[Heavy snow] causes … excess weight and snow build-up for people who don’t come down and keep their boats shoveled off. Yesterday morning alone, we had four boats sink in about a three-hour period, and the day before that, we had another one sink. … So we are [at] about a total of eight boats over a 12-day period from this heavy snowfall,” Matthew Creswell, Juneau’s harbor master told The Weather Network.

City and state authorities warned that avalanches were a possibility due to the precarious snow build-up in some areas. Also, with slightly warmer temperatures and possible rain in the coming days, flooding could be a problem.

The multiple single day record setting snow events in Juneau pushed its snow totals, 88.9 inches on January 24, above Anchorage’s 87.7 inches, so far this winter. Multiple news outlets, such as KTUU, the Weather Network, and the Anchorage Daily News, have reported dangerously low temperatures and even lower wind chills being widespread across the state.

“A winter weather advisory for blowing snow and dangerously low wind chills remains in place along the Dalton Highway and to the north. Wind chills will range from low to even lower, from -45 to -60 degrees,” said Alaskasnewssource.com. Elsewhere, Metlakatla saw its temperature fall to 47 degrees below zero, and in Fort Yukon, temperatures dipped to 50 degrees below zero.

Despite more snowfall being forecast in Juneau near the end of the month, it is unclear whether the city’s single January monthly total for snowfall, 75.3 inches set in 2009, will be broken in 2024.

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