Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A good day to not be riding

(Photo by Brian Wallace/Juneau Empire)

So somewhere beneath this mountain of snow is Thane Road, a favorite route of mine. The road was of course closed for avalanche control when this one came tumbling down. But I think the gunners shot off a little more than they could handle. Road crews said it would be at least 10 hours before they could clear away the 20-foot-high powder wall, and there's a whole town's worth of people who live on the wrong side of this thing. Rough.

It's crazy weather day here in Juneau. We hit the all-time seasonal snowfall record early this morning - 195 inches (the official number is measured at the airport. Where I live, on Douglas Island, we have received closer to 240 inches.) Then it switched over to rain - heavy, heavy rain. Heavy in the way that waterlogged snow sitting atop a fresh powder slab is heavy. Avalanche danger right now is an understated "extreme." Flood advisories are rampant. They even threw in a wind advisory for good measure. Officials are telling people to drive at their own risk. If you don't get buried by a snow slide, you'll probably be swept away by a torrent from a flooded-out stream, or blown away by 50 mph gusts. Welcome to spring in Southeast Alaska - where winter doesn't just melt away. It implodes.

Either way, it's a good day to sit inside the office, ice my knee into dull-ache oblivion, and dream up ways to make a great gimp adventure out of it all tomorrow. Any ideas?