In Southeast Alaska, a winter storm has piled up numerous feet of snow this past week. Downtown Juneau experienced two back-to-back avalanches outside both sides of the city. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for Juneau and Petersburg, describing the storm as a “long-duration snow event.”
The Juneau city manager, Katie Koester, said that Thane Road was buried under one to two feet of snow over a mile of road. Though avalanches are common in the area, the city urged people to stay out of the area in fear of the danger it caused. The second avalanche was confirmed on Tuesday above where Behrends Avenue sits. However, the second slide did not impact roadways or buildings, but public officials advised community members to avoid spending time under the slide’s path.
Multiple boats were sunk entirely under the weight of the snow. Harbormaster Matt Creswell said three more boats were saved just in time, according to KT00. No pollution from the vessels has been detected so far.
“In my time in Juneau, this is the worst I’ve seen,” Creswell tells KT00.
“We are expending resources that could be used right now to clear parking lots and docks. We’re expanding those resources for boats that could not have sunk if people would have shoveled them off in time.”
Douglas Harbor was having similar problems with the amount of snow it received. Its docks and harbor staff worked overtime to ensure no more vessels sank.
Meredith Thatcher, Juneau’s public information officer, stated in a release Monday, “Docks and Harbors would like to remind all 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.”
United Fishermen of Alaska and many others shared on social media the mess this past storm left in the Southeastern part of the state. “It’s quite a mess down here right now, and it’s pretty neat to see everybody coming out and helping each other- although it’s very hard to drive right now on the roads. I’ve been out and about for the last six hours and seems to be getting worse instead of better.” Creswell told Alaska’s News Source.
On Wednesday, they issued a high wind warning and “urged people to secure vessels and loose objects” through midnight. They also mentioned reporting any damage to the National Weather Service by visiting their website.
Roadways have reopened, but residents and homeowners are encouraged to stay alert to their surroundings and current weather conditions.