Another winter storm could dump up to 2 feet of snow over Southeast Alaska

The Juneau office of the National Weather Service produced this image of the upcoming weather January 6-10, 2022.

Another winter storm could dump up to two more feet of snow over Southeast Alaska this weekend. Then the snowpack could be dangerously drenched in rain if the weather changes abruptly as expected next week.

Grant Smith is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Juneau. He said there are two weather systems converging in the southeast. Near the surface we have lived a cold and dry system. In the upper part of the atmosphere, a system coming from the south will bring warmer and more humid weather.

“So we’re going to have this fight between the hotter air trying to come in and go out, you know, the cold air that has settled in so much,” Smith said.

There is a lot of uncertainty about predicting how the two systems will interact. 10 to 24 inches of snow is expected on Saturday and Sunday. For the Juneau area, rain is expected late Sunday or early Monday.

“And that’s going to make a lot of the snow in the area soak up all that moisture, all that rain and that water. And that’s going to add to structural integrity issues and potential flooding, ”Smith said.

Flooding because drains everywhere are clogged with older snow and ice. Juneau’s director of emergency programs, Tom Mattice, said the city is asking residents to help them eliminate them.

“Kind of like adopting a fire hydrant, you know? Said Mattice. “You know where there is a drain in your neighborhood and you can access it, make sure it’s free to treat the water, that would be a good thing over the next few days.”

Juneau Street Superintendent Greg Smith said it was a tedious and labor-intensive process. He recommended using hand bars, shovels and scissors.

He said his office might be able to help as well, although his crews already have their hands full.

The storm could also be a major problem for boat owners. Jeremy Norbryhn is the Assistant Harbor Master of Juneau Docks and Harbors. He said the snow this winter has already claimed at least one boat.

“So the only boat just had a bunch of snow on it. And uh, the owner was notified, and before he could get here he sank, ”Norbryhn said. “It started to lean to the side, take in water, and it sank in about 90 to 120 feet of water.”

He said port workers periodically walk the docks and report potential issues to owners, but owners should check and maintain their vessels themselves.

Meanwhile, employees at the Juneau hardware store have reported a run on snow removal equipment, especially the snow rakes used to remove snow from roofs.

“I’m sold out right now,” said John Joeright, assistant manager at Ace Hardware in Juneau, as another ringing phone interrupted him. “We just got a lot of calls all day today.”

Weather-related shipping issues in the Seattle area have delayed restocking.

The city posted some advice on assessing roof snow loads earlier this week. City officials argue that it is up to individuals to weigh the risk of shoveling their roofs against the potential structural damage.

Nate Abbott is the City’s Building Maintenance Supervisor. He said heading into the weekend his biggest concern was water intrusion, rather than the weight of snow on the rooftops. He said ice dams can form around roof drains and gutters, causing rain and snowmelt to reveal unexpected leaks.

About Catherine Sturm


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