The National Weather Service today predicted as much as 14 inches of snowfall locally by Thursday night.
The agency issued a snow advisory for today and a winter storm watch for heavy snow tonight, meteorologist Carl Dierking said this morning.
The forecast is for 3 to 5 inches this afternoon, with the snow becoming more steady late in the day. "Overnight we are expecting the possibility of another 6 inches," Dierking said.
More snow is expected tomorrow.
"We should see snow taper off a little bit on Thursday, but occasional snow is in the forecast - in the showery, flurry range - with 1 to 3 inches possible," Dierking said.
The winter storm watch indicates that motorists should use caution, and boat owners should prepare to shovel off their decks to prevent the weight of snow from sinking their vessels.
Dierking said 11.4 inches had fallen at the weather service office, near the Mendenhall Glacier, in December. In contrast, the Juneau Airport has received only 1.5 inches of snow so far this month.
Gary Mendivil, business manager of Eaglecrest Ski Area, was optimistic.
"We could use a lot more, but it sounds like it's heading our way," Mendivil said this morning. "We are using Snow Cats to pack down the 7 inches of light, dry fluff we had fall, in anticipation of more snow today. But we can't anticipate when we can open until we see what happens. There are still a lot of open stream beds up there."
Snow tire sales have increased as the snow has piled up, said Dan Rice, manager of Penske Auto Center.
"Each time the snow falls, our (tire business) increases dramatically," Rice said. "Between Monday and yesterday, sales have driven (up) 35 to 40 percent just with winter tires."
Snowboarders may have had the broadest grins as they contemplated the weather forecast.
"I am very enthusiastic (about the snow), very much so," said Jake Liska, 24, a clerk at Boarderline.
As soon as he is freed from work, Liska plans to "go play in it all over town. I am going to do handrails, wherever there are handrails," he said.
Ann Chandonnet can be reached at email@example.com.
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