Update: Juneau’s Thane Road reopened; avalanche risk remains high

Flags flutter in the wind and driving rain outside the Alaska State Museum on Thursday in Juneau. (Photo by Ryan Cunningham/KTOO)

Update (Feb. 21, 10:15 a.m.) — Ryan Cunningham, KTOO

State transportation officials reopened Thane Road to regular traffic Friday morning. A Facebook post from the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities cautioned that the avalanche hazard remains high.

Thane Road is now open. Our early morning inspection revealed no new visible avalanche activity that reached Thane Road….

Posted by Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities on Friday, February 21, 2020

Update (Feb. 20, 5:40 p.m.) — Jeremy Hsieh, KTOO

State transportation officials closed Thane Road to non-emergency traffic at 5 p.m. Thursday “due to extremely high avalanche hazard.” The risk is expected to remain high overnight.

The state plans to update the road’s status at 8 a.m. Friday. Updates will be posted to the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Facebook page.

#Juneau Thane Road will be closed to non-emergency traffic today, Thursday, 2/20 at 5 p.m. due to extremely high…

Posted by Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities on Thursday, February 20, 2020

Tom Mattice, avalanche forecaster for the City and Borough of Juneau, said Thursday evening he knew of three small urban avalanches that all occurred Thursday. No damage was reported. He said avalanche risk remains high.

Mattice said one avalanche was down the Chop Gully path near the Flume Trail, one was down the Behrends Avenue path and one along Thane Road.

Maps of Juneau’s urban avalanche paths are available on the city’s website.

Original story

The City and Borough of Juneau’s avalanche forecaster said the urban avalanche risk rose to high levels Thursday.

Significant rain and snow, warmer temperatures and high winds are contributing to risk of avalanches off Mount Juneau.

City Emergency Programs Manager Tom Mattice regularly posts urban avalanche advisories on the city’s website with details and resources. In Thursday’s advisory, Mattice advised avoiding the area above the gates in the Behrends neighborhood and the Flume Trail.

Thane Road is also prone to avalanches from Mount Roberts. State transportation officials put out an alert about increasing risk there this afternoon. They advised not stopping or parking in the avalanche danger zone.

Thane residents should be prepared for extended road closures.

This story has been updated.

Clarification: This story has been updated to reflect that one of the small avalanches mentioned by avalanche forecaster Tom Mattice stopped short of the Flume Trail, but did not cross over it.

Jeremy Hsieh

Local News Reporter, KTOO

I dig into questions about the forces and institutions that shape Juneau, big and small, delightful and outrageous. What stirs you up about how Juneau is built and how the city works?

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