Swollen creeks and soggy cookouts: Juneau sees double the usual May showers

Water at Gold Creek near the Flume Trail in Juneau. (Claire Stremple/KTOO)

Local rivers ran high and rainfall drenched Memorial Day cookout plans in Juneau over the long weekend. Nearly 7 inches came down over the last month, making May 2021 the second wettest on record in the capital city.

“So, May is supposed to be one of our dry months,” said Greg Spann, a Juneau-based meteorologist for the National Weather Service. This May was actually twice as rainy as usual.

“You know, most Mays we see more sun, fewer clouds, where Juneau more closely resembles that postcard image that we love to show,” Spann said.

Meteorologists kept a close eye on local waterways over the weekend as lakes and creeks swelled with water. No major banks burst and the weather service did not issue flood warnings, but Montana Creek and Auke Lake reached high alert levels Monday night, before dropping again in the morning.

Spann says the storm system that’s been hammering the northern panhandle is moving south this week. And he says all this rain in May doesn’t necessarily mean we’re in for a soggy summer.

“We’re really hoping it’s not an omen for a rainy summer. It is still too soon to tell, though there aren’t any really good climate signals that would indicate whether or not we can say with confidence that it’s going to be more rainy or less rainy. I think I can say with confidence that we all do want some breaks in the clouds,” he said.

It’s likely to stay rainy for a few more days, but the Juneau weather office predicts sunny skies early next week.

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