Arctic cold air mass brings Juneau snow, freezing rain and rain mixed with ice pellets

Niko Sanguinetti and Terry Hoskinson shovel snow while Roux plays in it on Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Juneau, Alaska. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)

The winter storm warning for Juneau expired at 9 a.m. on Monday morning, but the National Weather Service still expects two to five inches of more snow through Tuesday.

Meteorologist Pete Boyd said the weather service expected a powerful winter storm to dump a lot of precipitation on the panhandle Sunday night and Monday morning, but forecasters had a hard time figuring out where exactly in the region that rain would turn into snow.

“Tricky is not the word for it,” Boyd says.

A boundary of cold Arctic air moved farther south than expected, dramatically dropping temperatures in Haines, Skagway and Juneau. For example, at Boyd’s office in the Mendenhall Valley, it was 27 degrees at 8 a.m. Monday while it was 51 degrees in Petersburg. At the same time, a low-pressure system with warm air and lots of precipitation moved directly east into the central panhandle instead of heading further north.

“Rain, snow, rain mixed with snow, rain mixed with ice pellets, freezing rain in addition to some breezy conditions,” Boyd says.

Unofficial snow depth measurement at the KTOO studios in downtown Juneau on Nov. 2, 2020. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO)

About 7.6 inches of snow fell at the Juneau airport by 8 a.m. Monday morning and 11.5 inches fell at Lena Point.

Blizzard conditions were reported in Haines and Skagway while heavy rain and flooding was reported in the southern part of the panhandle. Sixty-mile-per-hour winds were also reported throughout the panhandle.

Boyd says drivers should take extra caution. Road conditions are “horrendous” with the combination of rain, freezing rain and snow falling Sunday night and Monday.

Bonnie Walters shovels snow off of her Nordic Tug “Madeline“ at Statter Harbor on Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Juneau, Alaska. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)

“This would be the day [or] the morning to say inside if you can,” Boyd advises.

The Juneau Police Department reported at least eighteen vehicles went into the ditch because of slippery driving conditions Monday morning. Lt. Krag Campbell says there were no major crashes or any injuries.

Campbell says they also had reports of debris, like trees and powerlines, in the roadway.

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