VIDEO: Avalanche snow sweeps down the mountainside in Juneau

Published: Mar. 31, 2017 at 10:18 AM AKDT
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A large amount of snow rushed down the Behrends Avenue avalanche path in Juneau this morning, just above Juneau Douglas High.

Carole Triem was just leaving the pool when she recorded the video of the avalanche at around 6:30 a.m. Friday morning.

"I thought I heard thunder at first, and I looked up and realized, oh, there's an avalanche starting," Triem said.

Avalanches in that particular path aren't uncommon, according to Tom Mattice, the urban avalanche forecaster for Juneau.

"We see activity there, but in terms of size this particular avalanche was large," Mattice said.

He said the snow flowed down the pass and came within about 50 feet of a house in the area. Mattice said he thinks the snow hit a van that was in the path of the avalanche.

Luckily, the snow stopped just short of a dead end road that is closed to through traffic. Mattice said he had previously released a level 4 or "high" avalanche warning through the end of the week, and specifically warned for people to avoid that area.

"Please also do not hike in the gated areas above the Berhands (sic) neighborhood. We have a fair amount of snow up high now and these near freezing temps and high loading rates have the ability to trigger the deeper instabilities," Mattice wrote.

In this case, the warning in the advisory turned out to be right. He described his prediction as "getting lucky."

"If you had been standing there you would have been covered in snow," he said.

Mattice says that this avalanche "removes a layer of concern" in the area, as it will take some time at this point for more snow to "reload" into the pass and make activity once again unpredictable.

The avalanche event could work as an indicator for the surrounding areas as well, Mattice said. This is due to the fact that avalanches can sometimes cause domino effects to areas nearby.