The Juneau City Assembly will meet Monday night to discuss ways to reduce the avalanche threat in the city.
Back in 1972, Juneau was declared the highest avalanche-risk urban area anywhere in the world by a body called the Swiss Snow Authority, which makes such assessments.
The city got the designation because its 30,000 residents sit at the base of 2,500-foot mountains that slope as much as 34 degrees. Avalanche pathways on those mountains lead directly to 62 homes, a hospital, a hotel and a main road.
At Monday's hearing the Assembly will hear from Tom Mattice, the city's emergency manager, on how to mitigate avalanche risks. Among the proposals is building diversionary structures on the hillsides to divert avalanches.
The fear is that if a major avalanche strikes 70,000 tons of snow could come crashing down on area homes, resulting in major loss of life.
Major avalanches struck Juneau in 1890, 1926, 1962 and 1972, but so far the city has been lucky, with nobody yet killed in an urban avalanche.
The population of Juneau has grown since the previous big avalanches, however, and no one wants to count on luck to keep Juneau's residents safe.
Email Dan Fiorucci