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With heavy snow and rain in the forecast, avalanche danger will rapidly climb this weekend

February 26, 2021 – News

With heavy snow turning to rain in the forecast this weekend, on top of already deep snow instabilities, avalanche danger in the Juneau area will be rapidly climbing over the next 48-72 hours with potential for historic avalanches. Due to this building avalanche potential, residents of homes in Juneau avalanche paths, particularly the Behrends Avenue avalanche path, should be cautious. There is a possibility the City and Borough of Juneau Emergency Management could recommend evacuation for residents in the Behrends Avenue avalanche path. Keep track of avalanche hazards on the daily Urban Avalanche Advisory. A recommendation to evacuate would be included in the advisory. In the event of an evacuation recommendation, CBJ would provide a shelter option.

Per the National Weather Service in Juneau, a winter storm warning is in effect from 11 p.m. this evening to 1 p.m. Saturday. Heavy snow is expected with total snow accumulation of 3 to 9 inches. Snow is forecasted to change to rain through Saturday afternoon and evening. The storm would be adding to the already considerable avalanche potential in the region. There are a great number of weak layers in the snowpack. Numerous significant avalanches in the region have been observed over the last few days; for example, avalanches with crowns from 4 to 6 feet deep and hundreds of yards wide.

The Urban Avalanche Advisory is currently at Considerable. If the winter storm materializes as expected, it could be raised to Extreme. In this event, winter road maintenance would be suspended on CBJ streets in avalanche zones.

To see where the Urban Avalanche Zones in the community are, go here and click on the “Avalanche Path Maps” tab.

While CBJ, with the help of partner agencies, monitors potential natural emergencies, it is up to individuals and families to be aware of the hazards that exist nearby and be properly prepared for any risk to safety or damage those hazards may cause.

For more information, contact Emergency Program Manager Tom Mattice at 586-0419 or [email protected].