Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The National Weather Service has increased its alert for the big snow headed this way.
Juneau Forecast Office officials Grant Smith, Wes Adkins, and John Suk conducted a webinar to brief their partners and said winter storm warnings have been issued across Southeast Alaska.
Twelve to 24 inches is forecast for Juneau, Gustavus, Hoonah, and Tenakee Springs, Pelican, and Elfin Cove along with winds gusting to 35 miles per hour. That warning goes into effect at 6 p.m. Saturday and until 9 p.m. Sunday.
Twelve to 20 inches of snow is forecast for Upper Lynn Canal and Yakutat. Eleven to 14 inches is forecast for Angoon.
Warm air will move in late Sunday night into the Juneau area. The exact amount of rain is a question that will be blowing in the wind. Smith said, "If the warm air is able to overpower the cold air, we'll see less snow, potentially more rain, but if it's the opposite, more snow and less rain."
But the forecasters are pretty sure we'll see some rain. Smith said they have high confidence in getting at least one to three inches of precipitation through Tuesday morning. He added that that is higher than normal for early January for this region.
The weather service officials said the switch from snow to rain is a cause for concern. They say the rain on the heavy snow will have potential impacts. Rain over deep snow will challenge the structural integrity of roofs, boats, and aircraft that are tied down outdoors they say. The risk for avalanches will be increased and there could be flooding of rivers following all that rain and snow.
Ponding around ditches and culverts and just plain slick conditions will be among other impacts