|Information courtesy of the National Climate Data Center|
|Juneau lies well within the area of maritime influences which prevail over the coastal areas of southeastern Alaska, and is in the path of most storms that cross the Gulf of Alaska. Consequently, the area has little sunshine, generally moderate temperatures, and abundant precipitation. In contrast with the characteristic lack of sunshine there are greatly appreciated intervals, sometimes lasting for several days at a stretch, during which clear skies prevail. The rugged terrain exerts a fundamental influence upon local temperatures and the distribution of precipitation, creating considerable variations in both weather elements within relatively short distances.
Temperature variations, both daily and seasonal, are usually confined to relatively narrow limits by the dominant maritime influences. There are, however, periods of comparatively severe cold, which usually start with strong northerly winds, and are most often caused by the flow of cold air from northwestern Canada through nearby mountain passes and over the Juneau ice field. These are generally of brief duration. During such periods strong, gusty winds, known locally as Taku Winds, often occur especially in downtown Juneau, Douglas, and other local areas, but generally they are not felt in the Mendenhall Valley. At times these are strong enough to cause considerable damage. During periods of calm or light winds, temperature differences within short distances are frequently very pronounced. Variations in local sunlight and air drainage patterns produce wide differences in temperatures particularly between upland or sloping areas and areas of low, flat terrain. Juneau International Airport, located on low, flat terrain formed by the Mendenhall River delta, and in the path of drainage air from the Mendenhall Glacier, averages about 10 days a year with minimum readings below zero. Downtown Juneau, located on a sloping portion of a rugged mountain area, experiences on the average only about one day each year with minimum readings below zero. At the airport the growing season averages 146 days, from May 4 to September 28, while the downtown average is 181 days, from April 22 to October 21. The months of February to June mark the period of lightest precipitation, with monthly averages of about 3 inches. After June the monthly amounts increase gradually, reaching an average of 7.71 inches in October. Due to the rugged topography, precipitation throughout the year tends to vary greatly within short distances. At the Juneau Airport, yearly precipitation is 53 inches while downtown, only 8 miles away, it is 93 inches. The maximum yearly amount received in the city is almost double the maximum received at the airport.
Although a trace of snow has fallen as early as September 9, first falls usually occur in the latter part of October, and sometimes not until the first part of December. On the average there is very little accumulation on the ground at low levels until the last of November, although at higher elevations, and particularly on mountain tops, a cover is usually established in early October. Snow accumulation usually reaches its greatest depth during the middle of February. Individual storms may produce heavy falls as late as the first half of May. However, snow cover is usually gone before the middle of April. Ice accumulations due to alternating thawing and freezing of snow or due to freezing precipitation are frequent problems in the Juneau area during the winter months.