Few things change faster or more often than the Juneau weather. The truth is, when you travel to Juneau, prepare for rain, wind, sun, clouds, and even snow. It’s important to remember that Juneau is a temperate rain-forest. The most common weather element of a temperate rain forest is precipitation. It’s not uncommon because of the Juneau weather for kids to be decked out in Grundens’ rain gear (just like the fishermen in “Deadliest Catch”) just to go outside to play. It’s also not uncommon for them to play in mud more often than in grass! For today’s weather visit http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?zoneid=AKZ025.
Few places in the world are more beautiful than Juneau, Alaska when the sun comes out, and the Juneau weather is at its very best. Our city is surrounded by water on three sides, and backed by the impressive Coast Mountain Range. The white peaks of the highest mountains, the immense amount of evergreen trees, and the sparkling blues and greens of the 538 square miles of waterways in the borough make our city highly photogenic on a sunny day. Guests that arrive in Juneau on a sunny day can count themselves lucky, and should plan to fill up the available storage on their smart phone before they even know what happened!
In 2014, we had nearly 70 inches of rain, which fell on 217 days out of the year. Not surprisingly, many residents of Juneau find the rain to be exhausting. Most of us just put on our rain gear, and don’t let the liquid sunshine stop us from enjoying the world class fishing, hunting, hiking, skiing (yes we get rain in the winter) camping, tidepooling, scuba diving, ice climbing, geo caching, and countless other outdoor activities available in Juneau. There are some great things to remember about the rain as a part of our Juneau weather. We never worry about running out of water. Our water comes out of our faucets ice cold and delicious. We can water our lawns every day of the year (not that we need to). It stays a relatively small city at 30,000 residents because not everyone can handle the rain. On a serious note though, our city is lush and green and home to many amazing animals because of all of the life giving rain that we receive throughout the year. One of the best things about arriving to Juneau on a rainy day is the incredibly intense blue that the glaciers reflect with a cloud cover. The bright sun can diminish the bright blues of the compacted ice, and the clouds magnify it.
Our tour season runs from the beginning of May to the end of September. We don’t typically get snow within those months, but it’s not uncommon for there to be “termination dust” as early as mid-September. Termination dust is an Alaskan term that locals know to mean that new snow has fallen on the lower peaks of the mountains surrounding our cities. It was coined because the first snowfall means that summer is officially terminated and the long, dark winter months are beginning. The most snowfall that Juneau has ever received in a calendar year is 212 inches. Last year we received just 51 inches, and we had many disappointed skiers and snowboarders. Average winter temperatures hover around 30 degrees in the city, but it’s not uncommon for it to warm up to 45 degrees and rainy before dipping back down to below freezing. When the snow does fall, Juneau turns into the quintessential Alaskan winter wonderland, and is a sight not to be missed.
Whatever Juneau weather brings on the day you arrive to town, the sightseeing in Juneau is unmatched. Our helicopter and airboat tour is spectacular in all weather. We provide the rain pants, but make sure you wear a hat, gloves, a rain shell and lots of layers underneath. Check out the video below to see what you can expect on our exciting and breathtaking tour! – Julie