FAQ

What’s the weather in Juneau like?

Juneau is situated in the Tongass Rainforest. Juneau typically temperate, wet weather is influenced by the Japanese Current and results in about 300 days a year with rain or moisture.  Average rainfall is 92 inches in the downtown area and 54 inches ten miles away at the airport.  Summer temperatures range between 45 and 65 degrees, and in the winter between 25 and 35 degrees. May of this year (2016) broke several temperature records, with only a half-inch of reported rain.  Temperatures are seldom in the teens in winter and only rarely below zero.  Snowfall averages 101 inches per year, though recent years have evidenced less snow at tidewater.

On average, the driest months of the year are April and May and the wettest is October, with the warmest being July and the coldest January and February.

According to the City & Borough of Juneau site: In the Juneau area, common severe weather events include snow, high winds, dense fog, and coastal storms. Less common, but still occasionally observed are thunderstorms, hail, waterspouts, extreme cold, and blizzards.  Extreme weather events in Juneau may be accompanied by secondary effects such as flooding, landslides, and avalanches.  Still, severe weather rarely comes as a surprise in Alaska, so it's certainly possible to protect your home and property from Alaskan weather.

High winds are the most common extreme weather event in Southeast Alaska. In the downtown Juneau and Douglas areas, the mountainous terrain induces what are known locally as Taku winds.  These winds occur an average of four times a year from October through April.  Hurricane force wind gusts (72 mph or greater) occur roughly once every two years during these Taku wind events. Taku winds produce strong wind shear and turbulence that can affect the operation of air transportation in the area.  Taku winds can also cause dangerous marine weather conditions.

Is it really sunny in the summer and really dark in the winter? 

On summer solstice, the sun rises before 4 AM and sets after 10 PM for more than 18 hours of daylight, whereas it rises at nearly 9 and sets shortly after 3 on winter solstice for just over 6 hours of daylight. Spring months bring rapid change when Juneau sees an increase of more than half an hour of sunlight each week, and fall brings equally rapid change as sunlight diminishes at the same pace.

Are there a lot of bears?

Per the City & Borough of Juneau website: The city is surrounded by prime black bear habitat and it isn't uncommon to see bears wandering through town. Juneau residents treasure the natural surroundings in which we live:  we live in bear country and we feel lucky to do so.

Because we understand our responsibility to the wildlife whose home we share, our community was among the first in the nation to enact local laws aimed at keeping bears out of garbage.  As we continue to refine laws and practices, Juneau is becoming a model for other communities committed to living in harmony with wildlife.

How do you survive the winter?

Juneau is a very active community and although the bears go into hibernation during the winter, our culture does not. There are a ton of social activities to attend in the fall and winter. Many non-profits hold galas and fundraisers in September and October. Downtown Juneau gets active November and December and has a robust line-up of activities, including Gallery Walk the first Friday in December which is a fun activity that thousands of Juneauites enjoy.

The legislative session usually starts in January so Juneau experiences an influx of people that add more energy to the community.

February is when the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council hosts the much-anticipated Wearable Arts showcase and when the Juneau Economic Development Council holds the Innovation Summit business conference. Both events have hundreds of people in attendance.  You can take a look at annual events here: http://www.traveljuneau.com/cms/index.php?id=238

It also helps to get involved in community organizations, clubs, sports and more. Keeping busy is the secret and there are many ways you can do that.  Juneau has many adult and youth club sports [check out the ‘O’ page to get more info on that]. We also have 2 swimming pools that start exercise classes from as early as 6AM and many gyms that you can get memberships to as well as a rock climbing gym and yoga studios [can be found on the H page under Exercise].

Many residents combat Seasonal Affective Disorder [SAD] by boosting intake of Vitamin D and purchasing a “Happy Light.”

Another upside of the dark winter months is the opportunity to enjoy the incredible beauty of the Northern Lights.

Is there a LGBT community in Juneau?

Yes, and SEAGLA [Southeast Alaska LGBTQ+ Alliance] has a community calendar for events and more information. The SEAGLA website has a page available called, “Living in Juneau”.  You can also find a page dedicated to Juneau LGBTQ Organizations on the site: https://www.seagla.org/index.php/organizations/juneau-lgbtq-organizations

Is the Cost of living really that much higher? 

Yes. Juneau has a higher cost of living compared to cities in the continental United States, approximately 30% higher than U.S. averages.  At the same time, the city’s higher wages tend to equalize the difference.  Housing prices are comparatively higher and the housing supply is typically undersupplied.  In many cases, and especially for public employees, wages are above U.S. norms.  For example, federal agencies offer a 25% cost-of-living allowance.  Find out more by downloading the Juneau Economic Development Council Economic Indicator report at http://www.jedc.org/

Can you give me some basic socioeconomic data?

The median price for a single-family home in 2013 was $350,000.  Juneau’s median household income was $78,947 in 2012.  Approximately seven in ten Juneau residents identify themselves as White, 12 percent identify themselves as American Indian or Alaska Native, and 6 percent as Asian. Nine percent identify themselves by “two or more races.”

Juneau’s population has been aging steadily, with median age rising from 31.9 years in 1990 to 37.9 years in 2013.  Wage and salary payroll in Juneau totaled $881 million in 2013, including $421 million in government wages and $460 million in private sector wages.

Juneau is a safe community, with crimes such as homicide, aggravated assault and robbery occurring infrequently.

Is it true you get paid to live in Alaska?

Yes. Each year every person living in Alaska is paid a dividend from the Alaska Permanent Fund.  2015 Dividend was $2072.