High winds and freezing spray cancel LeConte sailing, but no Takus in downtown Juneau

Eldred Rock Lighthouse
Eldred Rock Lighthouse in Lynn Canal in 2015. According to the National Weather Service, gusts were reaching 60 mph there on Tuesday. (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)

The National Weather Service says that the high speed-gusts known as Taku winds it predicted for Tuesday afternoon may not materialize.

“It’s not exactly turning out to be a Taku wind situation for us. It’s more of an outflow pattern,” said lead forecaster Brian Bezenek.

But “no Takus” doesn’t mean it won’t be windy.

Taku winds happen when cold winds from Canada come off of the east mountains and send gusts into downtown Juneau and the Gastineau Channel. But today’s wind isn’t spilling over the mountains, it’s coming through the Inside Passage.

Bezenek says the main effects will be focused on the Northeastern panhandle.

“It’s hitting coastal sites and the marine channels. And through there we are seeing winds in the Lynn Canal right now sustained of 35 knots, which would be gale force,” said Bezenek. That’s about 40 mph.

North of Juneau near Eldred Rock, he says gusts are reaching 60 mph.

He says boaters should be careful — gusts are reaching 45 knots at Taku Inlet and Point Bishop. And low temperatures mean there’s risk for moderate to heavy freezing spray in the region.

The state’s Department of Transportation canceled the dayboat ferry LeConte due to high winds and the chance of heavy freezing spray in the Lynn Canal.

“We’re looking at the potential for some low level wind shear and turbulence for the flights in and out of Juneau on Alaska Airlines,” Bezenek said.

By noon, Alaska Seaplanes had canceled a flight to Tenakee Springs and another to Pelican due to the wind.

NWS recommends securing loose objects and having a plan for power outages if the Taku winds do materialize downtown.

Claire Stremple

Alaska News Reporter, KTOO

I believe every Alaskan has a right to timely information about their health and health systems, and their natural environment and its management. My goal is to report thoughtful stories that inform, inspire and quench the curiosity of listeners across the state.

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