Posted: Tuesday, January 02, 2001

Snow shortage breaks weather record

JUNEAU - Only 5.6 inches of snow fell in Juneau from July to December 2000, the lowest for any equivalent season on record. Overall, 23.8 inches of snow fell from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, a total only 0.4 inches more than the least recorded, 23.4 inches in 1987.

Its been rain and not snow, said National Weather Service meteorological technician Sam Simpson. For December 2000, the average temperature was more than 4 degrees above normal. Thats why we didnt get our snow, because it came down as rain.

Precipitation for the year totaled 68.97 inches, more than 15 inches above normal. On 14 days, an inch or more fell.

Temperatures were close to normal, Simpson said. The year's high of 73 degrees occurred once in June, July and August, while the low of zero degrees was recorded on Dec. 15.

Plane wreckage search continues

JUNEAU - Volunteers hope to search underwater today for wreckage of the small airplane missing since last Wednesday with two aboard, state troopers said.

Volunteers with Southeast Aquatic Safety planned to use an underwater camera to search near Skull Island in Young Bay, where two tires, apparently from the single-engine Belanca Scout, were found Friday.

The plane was piloted by Steve Zeckser, 51, who was accompanied by flight instructor Edgar "Bear" Burch, 63.

The Coast Guard suspended the search for the men Saturday. "It's a recovery operation now. We're trying to locate the airplane," said trooper Sgt. Will Ellis.

An underwater search didn't take place Sunday because of gale-force wind advisories. The privately owned underwater camera wasn't available Monday, Ellis said.

PFD application period begins

JUNEAU - Alaskans can begin signing up for their 2001 Alaska Permanent Fund dividend checks today.

The application booklets are arriving in mailboxes around the state. For those Alaskans who want to save time and paper, the state has an online application form available at

This is the second year the state has offered electronic filing. Nanci Jones, director of the state's Permanent Fund Dividend Division, said the online system checks to make sure all the requested information is complete.

A signature page automatically opens on screen when the applicant clicks the "submit" button. Applicants must print the signature page and mail it to the dividend office before their application is complete. A confirmation number is listed at the bottom of the printed signature page. Applicants should keep a copy for their files.

The application deadline is April 2. Paper applicants must have their forms postmarked by that date.

The amount of the 2001 dividend will be announced in late September. Payments by direct deposit will be made Oct. 10, with checks to follow later in the month.

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