Winter storm closes Juneau schools, state offices and largest grocery store

Vans are stuck in the snow off an icy road.
An image from the Alaska Department of Transportation Egan Drive/Glacier Highway traffic cam on Monday morning, Jan. 10, 2022.

Juneau schools, state offices and the community’s largest grocery store are closed Monday as forecasters warn of potential flooding after heavy snow gave way to rain in the early morning. Some trash service has also been suspended.

Juneau’s Fred Meyer closed early Sunday evening and remains closed Monday. Calls and messages seeking more information were not immediately returned. 

Juneau city officials and emergency managers met first thing Monday morning to get an update on the weekend’s weather. Deputy City Manager Robert Barr said they also spoke briefly about the grocery store closure. 

a road completely coated in thick ice with a mountain in the background
Vehicles move cautiously down Whittier Street in Juneau on Monday, Jan. 10. Schools were closed for the day and other services were canceled due to hazardous weather and slippery road conditions. (Bridget Dowd/KTOO)

He said the company is working on a risk assessment, and the closure was primarily due to an inability to keep up with snow removal. 

Store employees have been posting updates on social media about the closure. 

Forecasters with the local National Weather Service office are warning of rain and ice forming on top of the snow, which could cause flooding on Monday. 

Forecasters are calling for rain and snow through Wednesday. With continued cold temperatures in the area, they’re also warning of the possibility of freezing rain. 

Barr said the city is continuing its snow removal operations on Monday, and focusing on clearing storm drains. 

The Department of Transportation wrote in an email that operators are still working on clearing Egan Drive and Mendenhall Loop. The department announced Monday morning that Thane Road is open again, but motorists should obey warning signs and should not park or stop in the avalanche zone.

“It looks pretty messy out there,” department spokesperson Sam Dapcevich wrote. “Our message to drivers is, if you have to be out on the road today, please be extra cautious. Drive slowly, and please give our trucks and equipment plenty of room.” 

The hazardous weather closed Juneau School District schools and offices on Monday and Tuesday for all students and staff. After-school programs and activities were also canceled. Monday was supposed to be Juneau students’ first day back from winter break.

University of Alaska Southeast also closed buildings on Monday and Tuesday.

Other closures in town include Alaska Waste. In a recorded message, the company reports it suspended its trash collection because of extremely icy, unsafe road conditions. The company will be running Monday’s trash and recycle routes on Saturday, Jan. 15.  

An icy school parking lot.
Harborview Elementary School on Monday, Jan. 10. Schools were closed for the day and other services were canceled due to hazardous weather and slippery road conditions. (Bridget Dowd/KTOO)

Many state offices in Juneau have also closed due to the weather. State employees who are required to protect the health and safety of Alaskans — like employees within the Department of Public Safety, Corrections and the Pioneer Home — are required to stay at work, according to a notice from the state. 

According to flightware.com, Alaska Airlines has canceled two flights that were headed out of Juneau on Monday. One was headed to Petersburg and the other to Ketchikan. 

Alaska Seaplanes is reporting delays and closures for some offices throughout Southeast Alaska. According to the company’s website, they expect to be operating some flights — but flights to Haines and Skagway aren’t promising, based on the weather forecast. 

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