Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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03/21/2007: "Would you like snow with that?"

Well, overnight we reached the new seasonal snowfall record for Juneau: 194.6 inches!

And it happened essentially on the first day of spring....hoooray!

Now it's raining and we have massive piles of melting snow everywhere and drainage culverts clogged with snow and ice so there's a very high flood warning, *and* a high wind warning...not to mention *extreme* avalanche danger.

avalanche-scale (11k image)

From the Southeast Alaska Avalanche Center's Juneau Urban Avalanche Advisory: "We do not normally use the fifth point of the U. S. scale, but on those rare occasions when avalanche danger is so high that is essentially off the scale and widespread large natural avalanches are probable, the designator is EXTREME (black). Being anywhere near avalanche terrain or runout zones is not recommended."

Some good friends of mine live directly in the path of an avalanche chute in downtown Juneau. I was supposed to go to a St. Patty's party at their house on Sat. but I was still feeling run down from the crud. They (and their neighbors) have been warned to prepare to evacuate or to relocate until the imminent danger passes. Check out this photo from the Juneau Empire, of an avalanche in that area in 1972. WOW!

In an hour or so the DOT will fire shots from the Treadwell Mine across Gastineau Channel to the west slope of Mt. Roberts to trigger avalanches along Thane road (an area without residential development) but the road provides access to Juneau from people who live in Thane. Here's a photo of an avalanche occuring on Thane road.

Anyway, never a dull moment when you live in the Last Frontier.

Replies: 7 Comments

on Wednesday, March 21st, Kasia said

Hey, Elise! Take care and don't let any avalanche come near you!
Still - I'd love to live in Alaska. :)
In Poland the first day of spring was extremely...rainy. Damn!

on Wednesday, March 21st, Elise said

Thanks Kasia!
It's great hearing from you. I think the weather in Poland is not so different from here.
And I agree that living in Alaska is really wonderful, despite the sometimes extreme weather. I have loved getting all of this snow...I prefer snow to rain any day of the week!

on Wednesday, March 21st, SB said

Hey, just spent a week there, staying with 'kids' on Behrends Av!! :O

Came SO close to meeting you at the school, kids told me in parking lot they just passed you going in. We had to go. Saw Tommy twice, and a half counting sneak peek at rehearsal.

Got to learn how to drive and park in snow and ice again. Very beautiful!!

Now I have to worry until the melt is over, but at least they are on safer end of Behrends.

on Thursday, March 22nd, Jim L said

This avalanche goes to 11...

Is Spinal Tap in charge up there?

Take care, and hold off the yodeling...

on Thursday, March 22nd, Elise said

Hey SB! That's so funny how we almost keep meeting each other! I remember just seeing your daughter in the parking lot. bummer.

It was really beautiful here though, wasn't it? So glad you got to come for a visit. Maybe next time!

And Jim...the scale goes to 11. That's one higher isn't it?


on Sunday, March 25th, nicole said

Wow! I've been reading about the avalanche danger in the paper. I'm glad to find another Alaskan blogger.

on Sunday, March 25th, Elise said

Hi Nicole! Are you from here in Juneau? I think the danger has subsided somewhat since I posted this last week. Still, it's always a good idea to be safe when possible.