Friday, February 3, 2012

Weather Outlook: Avalanches

images from Juneau Urban Avalanche Advisory site:

After the 49 inches of snow we got in January, avalanches were inevitable. The temperatures have warmed up to 40 degrees and it's been raining and blowing (80 mph gusts today).

Wednesday, as we were waiting at a stop light, Mr. X and I watched a avalanche come down the Behrends Street avalanche chute. I was pretty shocked and quite concerned. The dust cloud looked enormous. This chute is particularly worrysome because there are 40 - 50 houses and the high school in its path. Mr. X told me it was the second one he'd seen there that day. Thankfully the avalanche wasn't big enough to reach any of the homes, school or road.

When we got out to the valley, Thunder Mountain was grumbling and rumbling but it was just dark enough I couldn't see any movement on the hillside.

Thursday morning, we heard a report that the Thane road (south of town) was closed due to an avalance at midnight. It took DOT a little over 12 hours to get the road reopened and reports were that the slide was 250 ft wide and 16 - 20 feet deep. This is a well known avalanche zone; DOT shoots a Howitzer across the channel to cause intentional slides in order to prevent slides like the one that happened Wednesday.

Thursday afternoon I heard reports of a slide on Mt. Juneau onto the Flume trail. Emergency officials are warning everyone to stay off of high risk trails - Juneau, Sheep, Jumbo, etc. - for the next 48 hours.

Tom Mattice - our avalanche forecaster - says that temperatures are headed lower tonight which should stabilize the snow pack, but some of the zones have not relased their snow yet so caution is advised today. He notes that, "We went through a large natural avalanche cycle from Wednesday afternoon into Thursday Afternoon with most all avalanche paths in the urban enviroment sliding."

1 comment:

  1. Wow, has the snow melted now or are the avalanches still sliding?


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