Winter storm warning in effect through Friday

Juneau can expect 12 to 20 inches of snowfall by Friday
Photo: First Snow
Maverick Sprague, 3, left, and his brother, Oden, 4, play in the snow along South Franklin Street Wednesday. Their mother, Mary, said their family just moved to Juneau from North Carolina. "This is the first snow they have seen and I think they approve," Sprague said.

In a “broadscale commitment to lots of snow,” the National Weather Service’s Juneau Forecast Office issued a winter storm warning for most of Southeast Alaska on Wednesday, said Tom Ainsworth, the meteorologist in charge of the office.

The warning itself means that forecasters expect a certain rate of snowfall: six inches of snow in 12 hours, or (redundantly, as Ainsworth points out) 12 inches in 24 hours.

Ainsworth said Juneau will likely be blanketed by a foot of snow by Friday, although he noted the warning calls for up 20 inches in the Juneau borough, which also covers Hoonah and Gustavus.

The weather forecasters issued the warning during the midnight shift Tuesday night and then updated it on Wednesday at about 1:15 p.m. Originally it called for the warning to begin on Wednesday at midnight, but they moved it up to 6 p.m. “at the tail end of rush hour Wednesday, to let people know what’s starting,” Ainsworth said.

The warning will be in effect until 6 a.m. Friday. A gale warning is also in effect for most of Southeast. For more information or for updates, visit

Ainsworth said this is a “classic snow pattern” for the area. Juneau sees clear, cold days and once the clouds and precipitation move in, so does the snow. Once it warms up, it’s back to rain.

“The forecast question is how fast will it warm up,” Ainsworth said. “We think it will on Friday evening and it will turn over to rain.”

He added, “It’s really a complex transition from cold to snowy to windy and snowy to then straight rain. We’re going to see a variety of inclement weather between now and Friday.”

Another word for inclement is “lousy,” he joked.

Ainsworth also had some helpful advise for Juneauites: Shovel your driveway on Thursday while the snow is still light.

“If you wait until Friday, it’s going to get heavier and harder to move,” he said.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at


Sun, 02/19/2017 - 02:26

Police & Fire for Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017

This report contains public information available to the Empire from law enforcement and public safety agencies. This report includes arrest and citation information, not conviction information. Anyone listed in this report is presumed innocent. Anyone with information about a crime can report a tip anonymously to

Read more
Sun, 02/19/2017 - 02:13

This day in Juneau history: Feb. 19

On Feb. 19, 1987, Gov. Steve Cowper and the Alaska Legislature formed a budget plan for the upcoming year. The House Finance Committee passed a bill giving Gov. Cowper permission to spend the $428 million reserve fund, and representatives described meetings with Gov. Cowper “wonderful”.

Read more
Sun, 02/19/2017 - 02:11

Libraries accepting food for fines

The Juneau Public Libraries are accepting food donations to pay off library fines during the entire month of February.

Read more
Sun, 02/19/2017 - 02:12

Senate Bill 54 aims to roll back some provisions of criminal justice reform

Changes to Senate Bill 91 — a controversial bill was enacted last summer in an effort to reduce Alaska’s prison population — are being rolled out as part of Senate Bill 54, introduced on the floor on Feb. 10.

Read more


  • Switchboard: 907-586-3740
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-586-3740
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Business Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-523-2230
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback