The capital of Alaska, Juneau, is under an avalanche advisory after the city suffered its third avalanche in five weeks. On Friday, March 31, a wall of snow and detritus slid down the mountainside into the highlands neighborhood, according to city officials. It tumbled dangerously close to many homes, coming within mere feet of residences. Many residents were able to get video footage on their phones.
An official warning from the city’s website put the danger level at four out of five for another round of damaging snow slides. It labels the potential of further avalanches as “high.” The site is warning against any travel in the areas as natural avalanches are possible, but human activity will more than likely trigger one. Worried that there could be more damage, either through a number of smaller occurrences or one large one, the city cannot stress enough the importance staying vigilant.
The combination of snow and rain that has fallen in the past few weeks threatens to have a profound impact on the threat of snow slides. The same conditions are predicted to continue for the next few days, with the temperatures getting above freezing and then below overnight. This situation has many scientists and monitors wary of the threat this frozen and slippery snow could pose.
Situated at the base of a mountain, the city is under constant threat from damage, thus it’s highly important to keep track of the weather. The best course of action is to remain alert. Look for cracks in the snow and any signs of sliding layers. Most scientists agree that there is little that can be done except for remain inside a strong building and away from windows. It’s important to stock up on food and water as well.
Juneau has been the victim of a number of avalanches over the years, most notably is the Behrends incident of 1962. A massive avalanche came down the mountainside into the streets and damaged a number of houses. Juneau is hoping there is little to worry about this time around, but the general attitude in the city is a “wait and see” mode.