City hires full-time avalanche forecaster

Posted: Thursday, November 20, 2008

JUNEAU - As of Monday, Juneau has its own full-time avalanche forecaster.

City Manager Rod Swope said Tom Mattice brings the niche training and experience in avalanche forecasting to the city. Mattice previously worked in Colorado's ski industry.

The Assembly committed $55,000 in October to the avalanche forecasting program. Another $55,000 in grant money is also funding the position. Mattice earns an annual salary of $61,804, the city's human resources department reported.

As snow accumulates in the winter, Swope said the public can expect avalanche forecasts similar to the ones put out by Bill Glude, an expert the city has contracted in the past. February through April typically are high risk months for avalanches. Mattice's other responsibilities include seeking grant money for his position and updating the city's avalanche emergency plans.

Swope said Mattice may have plans to hold public hearings to introduce himself to the community.

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