Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Tom Mattice, Emergency Program Manager for the City and Borough of Juneau, talked about avalanche danger in the midst of Juneau's blizzard.
"Avalanche danger will be high for the next 24 hours and we'll continue to see slide activity. The stronger the storm is, the more activity we'll see. As the storm diminishes overnight into tomorrow with decreasing winds and decreasing snowfall rates, activity will slow and yet danger remains for human triggered avalanches. We'll continue to see weakness over the next several days. This is a big storm with a lot of wind, and we're seeing a lot of activity and we'll continue to see activity for the next several days potentially," Mattice said.
Mattice said due to avalanche mitigation conducted Tuesday, he doubts that the avalanches will block roads. However, it's possible.
"We want people to be aware that avalanches are occurring. They're larger than average. Thank goodness D.O.T did avalanche control yesterday on main road or that concern would be even greater. But due to the fact that they didn't see a lot of deep instability yesterday and have cleared what we could, hopefully avalanches will continue to be smaller in nature," he said. "The Behrend's has not slid yet, and the Behrend's Path continues to be dangerous. We continue to worry about the people in the urban environment. The hazard is still high and not extreme. We're not evacuating houses yet. Yet we encourage people to make their own decisions about how much time they spend in avalanche stream. If you feel that the avalanche danger is high and you can spend time elsewhere, it's not a bad idea."
Mattice explained which areas to avoid.
"The White Path, the Behrend's Path the Flume and Perseverance trail all should be avoided right now. Down Thane road is a little bit better because D.O.T did control work there yesterday and yet dangers are building rapidly. This is a big storm with a lot of snow and the longer it persists and the more snow we get, the more people need to make their own decisions," he said.
Mattice added how to report avalanches.
"Share your avalanche observations with the Coastal Alaska Avalanche Center. That helps us know what's going on throughout the region, so that we can catalog all these events and understand how widespread the danger is and how deep the instabilities are. So we really appreciate people who take the time to reach out to that website and share their information."
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