Storm update: Snow tapering off through the night, slick conditions likely Tuesday

Strong winds kick up snow at the intersection for Main St. and Front St. in downtown Juneau. (Anna Canny/KTOO)

Update, 5:30 p.m.

Strong winds of up to 60 miles an hour will continue to blow snow in Juneau before tapering off in the early hours on Tuesday. The strongest gust Monday — at a speed of 103 miles — was recorded at the junction of Chatham, Icy Strait and Lynn Canal.

By Tuesday morning, temperatures will warm slightly and snow will start to mix with rains. Commutes will likely be less hazardous, but conditions will remain slick.

Snowfall totals varied throughout Southeast. In Juneau, there were accumulations between 4 and 6 inches by Monday afternoon. Haines and Skagway saw up to 8 inches and Hoonah reported 21 inches. 

More snowfall tonight could push those totals up by several inches.

Original story:

A blizzard warning is in effect for Juneau until Tuesday morning. The storm could bring 9 to 14 inches of snow. Strong winds — with gusts up to 60 mph — will kick up snow and make travel hazardous.

Meteorologist Andrew Park with the National Weather Service office in Juneau said people should avoid travel on Monday if possible.  

“Take it slow, leave plenty of space,” Park said. “But this evening is definitely your window. Tomorrow it could get pretty wild out there.”

On Monday morning, NWS meteorologist Sean Jones said the storm was progressing as forecasted, and the weather would intensify through mid-day.

“Conditions are going to ramp up,” Jones said. “The worst of the snow hasn’t reached Juneau proper yet.”

Downtown Juneau and Thane lost power around 8:30 a.m. Monday. Alaska Electric Light and Power Company spokesperson Deb Driscoll said the outage was linked to the Second Street power station, and crews were responding, but there could be more outages throughout the day as the storm intensifies.

“I expect we’ll have many more today,” Driscoll said.

Schools and offices closing early

News of closures came in rapidly Monday morning as the storm worsened.

Around 10:30 a.m., the city announced it was closing downtown offices and facilities at 11 a.m. due to hazardous condition. The closures include the downtown branch of the Juneau Public Library, the Juneau-Douglas City Museum, the Treadwell Arena, the Permit Center and Zach Gordon Youth Center.

Juneau schools are closing early after opening as usual on Monday morning. A statement from the school district said that parents are welcome to pick their students up, and buses would begin bringing children home after lunch. Elementary schools will close at 1:00 p.m., middle schools at 1:30 p.m. and high schools at 2:15 p.m.

All after-school activities and the RALLY program are cancelled.

The University of Alaska Southeast also announced campus buildings would close at 1 p.m. Monday. They expect to reopen Tuesday.

City buses in Juneau will be on modified winter routes at least through Monday. Capital Transit posted on their website that all riders should expect delays, and there is no service on Cordova St., Franklin St. and Fourth St.

State offices in Juneau are closed as well.

By Tuesday morning in Juneau, the snow should begin to mix with rain, which could create icy conditions that will persist through the week. 

Gustavus, Haines and Skagway could also see snowfall in the double digits, starting on Monday morning. A winter storm warning is in effect for those communities, but milder winds will make blizzard hazards less likely.  

For the southern panhandle, from Ketchikan to Prince of Wales Island, major snowfall is less likely, but strong winds could pose a threat. There’s the potential for power outages, downed trees and damage to boats that are not secured properly.

As of 10 a.m. Monday, the strongest wind reported was an 82 mph gust at Cape Spencer.

The National Weather Service will continue to update their forecasts as the storm picks up.

Editor’s note: We will keep updating this story as the storm progresses.

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