Warm temperatures, precipitation prompt avalanches in downtown Juneau

April 13, 2021 Mt. Juneau slide
View of the April 13, 2021 slide off Mt. Juneau that occurred just north of the main Behrends Avenue avalanche chute. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO)

There were avalanches off of Mt. Juneau Tuesday. Juneau residents reported hearing them overnight. But considerable avalanche danger remains in downtown Juneau.

According to Tom Mattice, City and Borough of Juneau emergency programs manager, there was no damage to any houses downtown.

“You can see that the Behrends Avenue path had a big avalanche,” Mattice said. “The White Subdivision had an avalanche that cleared out the entire upper path and came down within 150 feet of homes.”

“And other areas on Mount Juneau, including Chop Gully that comes down across the Flume Trail had small avalanches,” Mattice said. “But there’s still a tremendous amount of snow up high.”

The White Subdivision avalanche was about a foot deep. The Behrends Avenue avalanche was about two to three feet deep, but it didn’t occur along the main avalanche path.

“The path that slid into the Behrends run out actually started to the left of the Behrends’ starting zone,” Mattice said. So, it really didn’t even affect the danger from the mass of the Behrends’ starting zone.”

Mattice said there’s still a lot of this season’s snow on the top of Mount Juneau.

He said Tuesday night’s slides were likely prompted by warming temperatures and an inch of precipitation earlier this week.

Meanwhile, the state Department of Transportation plans avalanche control activities on Gastineau Peak Thursday afternoon, weather permitting. Thane Road will be closed from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday, maybe longer if heavy equipment has to clear the road of any avalanche debris.

Juneau urban snow avalanche path
Juneau urban snow avalanche paths (Courtesy CBJ)

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