Snowfall breaks record

Posted: Friday, April 18, 2008

Juneau's snowfall record for April 17 was buried under more than a half-foot of snow Thursday.

Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

The National Weather Service recorded 7.5 inches of snow Thursday at its Juneau International Airport weather station. The record had been only 1.1 inches, received on April 17 in 1948.

The storm that started Wednesday night dropped a total of 10.5 inches at the airport, 12.5 inches at the service's Juneau office on Mendenhall Loop Road, and 9 inches downtown.

Early Thursday morning, 10 inches of new snow was reported at the base of Eaglecrest Ski Area, which is closed for the season.

Juneau has seen double the average amount of precipitation so far this month, according to meteorologist Brian Bezenek. Through Thursday morning, 3.39 inches of precipitation had fallen in April, and the historical average is an inch and a half. Temperatures also have been cooler than average, Bezenek said.

Dry weather was predicted through this weekend and potentially into next week. A high pressure system centered south of Kodiak Island is expected to dominate the weather, but a marine stratus layer could build and create partly to mostly cloudy skies by early next week. Precipitation is not forecast, however, until possibly next weekend, Bezenek said.

While he called this week's storm "a little odd" for this time of year, Bezenek said such weather is not that unusual during springtime in Juneau. In 1963, for example, a storm dropped nearly 40 inches of snow at the airport during the first few days of April.

The service's long-range forecasts show slightly below normal temperatures through May and June, with normal precipitation. Spring is typically the driest time of year in Southeast Alaska.

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