Atmospheric river brings record rain, swollen rivers and unstable snowpack to Juneau

A record amount of rain was measured at the the airport on Friday, Jan. 21, 2022 in Juneau, Alaska. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)

A record amount of rain fell on Friday at Juneau’s airport. The nearly 3.5 inches at the city’s official monitoring station was a daily record – the most rain that’s fallen on January 21st ever – and also a monthly record – the most rain that has ever fallen in January.

There’s a flood watch in effect until 6 p.m. on Saturday for all of the Juneau area, and a stronger flood advisory for Montana Creek, which crested slightly above flood stage overnight. At flood stage, several inches of water should be expected on parts of the roadway.

Eaglecrest ski area closed on Saturday after getting five inches of rain at the base of the mountain. A message on the ski area’s website said the decision was to “preserve the sensitive snowpack.” It’s expected to open again on Sunday.

Skiers and snowboarders at Eaglecrest Ski Area on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 in Juneau, Alaska. The ski area was closed on Saturday, January 22, after receiving 5 inches of rain on top of the snowpack. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)

The avalanche hazard around Juneau is high for Saturday. After some slides on Mt. Juneau and Mt. Roberts relieved some of the pressure on Friday afternoon, 2.5 more inches of rain fell. Juneau’s urban avalanche forecaster Tom Mattice warned that “this is more than enough to reload those slopes with even bigger slabs than we saw [Friday],” in an update for Saturday.

Colder temperatures and drier conditions Sunday and Monday are expected to bring the hazard levels down, but the city is recommending that residents continue to avoid the Flume Trail and the gated area behind the Behrends neighborhood.

Rain is expected to continue through Saturday night and into Sunday and could be heavy at times. There’s rain in the forecast for the next seven days.

Jennifer Pemberton

Managing Editor, KTOO

I bring stories from the community into the KTOO newsroom so that all of our reporting matters. I want to hear my community’s struggles and its wins reflected in our coverage. Does our reporting reflect your experience in Juneau?

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