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A crack, a shriek, a bolt of lightning

Posted: June 18, 2013 - 12:10am
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Tourists take shelter under the Marine Park canopy as a rare thunder storm passes over Juneau on Monday.  Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Tourists take shelter under the Marine Park canopy as a rare thunder storm passes over Juneau on Monday.

For a few hours Monday night, those were the sounds and sights Juneau experienced as scattered lighting and thunderstorms moved through the region.

“What we’ve got is a low-pressure system up in the Yukon and its been pushing across a nice frontal boundary and is now crossing over the Juneau area,” Pete Boyd, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said. “It’s been producing a good gust front and producing lighting and thunderstorms.”

The NWS issued a special marine warning across Alaskan waters including Glacier Bay, Southern and Northern Lynn Canal including Auke Bay, Bishop Point, Elder Rock and Ibach Point, the Juneau-Douglas Bridge and Point Bridget. Some of the showers have produced winds up to 40 knots, according to Boyd, though those were around marine areas.

“It is fairly unusual. It’s not out of the question, but fairly unusual because of the strong daytime heating,” Boyd said referring to the all-time record high temperatures recorded over the weekend in Southcentral Alaska and this afternoon.

Over the weekend, an expansive range of high-pressure over Southern Alaska continued a string of unseasonably hot days where temperatures rose into the upper 80s and 90s.

“We just don’t get that type of system popping up. Most times we get these type of thunderstorms, they come over the coastal mountains. But we need a certain type of atmospheric condition to carry that down,” Boyd said.

Similar, isolated thunderstorms may hit the area Tuesday, with lightning strikes through to offshore waters. But that doesn’t mean saying goodbye to the stint of recent warm weather.

“Although we are getting back to more clouds and more scattered showers,” Boyd said, “as we get toward the weekend we’re looking at getting back to typical Southeast weather.”

Also, paving is set to begin Tuesday on Main Street, though the inclement weather may delay operations.

Public works was not available for comment at press time.

Improvements to the street have shut down two blocks since April. The street is set to open this week with bus service following shortly after.

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