Forecasters warn of possible flooding as Juneau’s snow turns to rain

Two cars in deep snowbanks along a snowy road
An image from the Alaska Department of Transportation Egan Drive/Glacier Highway traffic cam on Monday morning, Jan. 10, 2022.

Update — Tuesday, Jan. 11

Fred Meyer in Juneau reopened Tuesday morning, according to spokesperson Jeffrey Temple.

Original story — Monday, Jan. 10

State offices, schools and Juneau’s largest grocery store are closed as forecasters warn of potential flooding after heavy snow gave way to rain early Monday morning. Some trash service has also been suspended.

Juneau’s Fred Meyer closed early on Sunday evening and remains closed Monday. Spokesperson Jeffrey Temple wrote in an email that it was out of an “abundance of caution,” due to the amount of snow that accumulated on the store’s roof. 

“We are working diligently to remove snow from our roof, and we have consigned engineering firms to help ensure structural integrity so that we can reopen the store as soon as possible,” Temple wrote.  

Store employees have been posting updates on social media about the closure. 

a road completely coated in thick ice with a mountain in the background
Vehicles move cautiously down Whittier Street in Juneau on Monday, Jan. 10. Schools were closed for the day and other services were canceled due to hazardous weather and slippery road conditions. (Bridget Dowd/KTOO)

Forecasters with the local office of the National Weather Service are warning of rain and ice forming on top of the snow, which could cause flooding on Monday. 

Forecasters are calling for rain and snow through Wednesday. With continued cold temperatures in the area, they’re also warning of the possibility of freezing rain in Juneau. 

Deputy City Manager Robert Barr said the city is continuing its snow removal operations and concentrating on the Valley on Monday. He said they’re focusing on clearing storm drains. 

The Department of Transportation wrote in an email that operators are still working on clearing Egan Drive and Mendenhall Loop. The department announced Monday morning that Thane Road is open again, but motorists should obey warning signs and should not park or stop in the avalanche zone.

“It looks pretty messy out there,” DOT spokesperson Sam Dapcevich wrote. “Our message to drivers is, if you have to be out on the road today, please be extra cautious. Drive slowly, and please give our trucks and equipment plenty of room.” 

Other closures in town include Alaska Waste. In a recorded message, the company reports it suspended its trash collection because of extremely icy, unsafe road conditions. The company will be running Monday’s trash and recycle routes on Saturday, Jan. 15.  

Many state offices in Juneau have also closed due to the weather. State employees who are required to protect the health and safety of Alaskans — like employees within the Department of Public Safety, Corrections and the Pioneer Home — are required to stay at work, according to a notice from the state. 

According to flightaware.com, Alaska Airlines has canceled two flights that were headed out of Juneau on Monday. One was headed to Petersburg and the other to Ketchikan. 

Alaska Seaplanes is reporting delays and closures for some offices throughout Southeast Alaska. According to the company’s website, they expect to be operating some flights — but flights to Haines and Skagway aren’t promising, based on the weather forecast. 

This story has been updated with more information about the ongoing closure of Fred Meyer. 

Rashah McChesney

Daily News Editor

I help the newsroom establish daily news priorities and do hands-on editing to ensure a steady stream of breaking and enterprise news for a local and regional audience.

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