Storm nearly trips up Cupid

But love and ski lifts prevail

Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2001

"You got any roses - red roses?"

The question rings in the background, registered in a nervously loud male voice, as Wayne Bundy tries to talk on the phone.

Bundy, designer for Martha's Flowers, was concerned Alaska Airlines wouldn't get in during Tuesday night's snowstorm, and his 28 dozen roses - all red - would not arrive. But they did. And Martha's opened early today, at 7 a.m., to make sure anxious Juneau lovers could find what they needed.

"We expect to be busy at least until 5 o'clock," Bundy said at 8:30 a.m. as customers filled his shop.

Tuesday's storm affected not only Valentine's Day supplies but also the Juneau Planning Commission meeting, which was canceled, and school kids living near the Auke Bay Recreation Area - because felled trees kept school buses from picking them up at their homes this morning.

Greg McLaughlin, dispatcher for Auke Bay Garage, which supplies the buses, said all levels - elementary, middle and high schoolers - were affected, but he did not know how many students.

Heavy, wet snow caused power outages north of Engineers Cutoff, in the Fritz Cove area, Auke Bay, Tee Harbor, Lena Loop and at the Auke Lake campus of the University of Alaska Southeast.

"We would really have been in trouble if electricity went out in housing, but it didn't," said Timi Tullis, residence life manager at UAS. Power went out on the campus about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, and was restored about 6:30 p.m., Tullis said.

"But by that time we didn't feel it was safe to have people driving out here for 7 p.m. classes, so we just canceled all classes for the night," Tullis said.

The heavy weight of the snow brought down trees, in part because the ground was not frozen enough to keep them upright, said David Stone, vice president of consumer affairs for Alaska Electric Light and Power.

Crews attacked the problems of downed trees and broken branches in sections, he said. "Everyone now has power. Our crews got home about midnight; this is when they earn their keep," Stone said.

The National Weather Service had predicted up to 10 inches of snow, and the prediction came true in spades, said meteorological technician Sam Simpson. At the Juneau Airport, 10.3 inches fell. At Auke Bay, 8; Tee Harbor, 14. Downtown, about 5 inches fell, flocking trees and shrubs.

"We almost got as much snow yesterday as we have all the rest of the winter, although it was a long time in coming," Simpson said. Forecasters expect "sunny skies but cool" for today and Thursday.

Eaglecrest Ski Area received 10 inches at the lodge, making a total of 19. All the lifts are operating, said Business Manager Gary Mendivil. The tubing hill needs to have troughs created and a berm built at the bottom, so tubers don't slide into the parking lot. That hill may be open by the weekend, Mendivil said.

The Southeast Alaska Avalanche Center issued an advisory warning of high avalanche danger during Tuesday's storm, and advised snowmobilers against riding the Dan Moeller Trail above West Juneau.

At 2 p.m. Tuesday, there were four cars in the ditch on the 3-mile portion of Egan Drive between 12th Street and Channel Drive. Despite dozens of pulse-stimulating incidents of fish-tailing, slipping and sliding, Capitol City Fire & Rescue said they were required to take only one person to Bartlett Regional Hospital. The 44-year-old woman suffered bumps and bruises, but was not seriously injured.

Tuesday's planning commission meeting has been rescheduled for 7 p.m., Feb. 20, in Juneau Assembly chambers.

Ann Chandonnet can be reached at achandonnet@juneauempire.com.



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