The strongest storm in a decade could be upon Alaska’s western coasts this weekend as forecasters warned of a front bearing hurricane-force winds, massive seas, and enough rain for coastal flooding. 

A low pressure front in the Bering Straight is spinning as wide and strong as any winter storm, but instead of bringing cold weather, it is being fed by the volatile air from the former Typhoon Merbok, forecasters said. 

The result is a potent system that could bring 3 to 5 inches of relatively warm rain to coastal regions over the weekend, and will impact Alaska’s Arctic coast, Southwest Alaska and, eventually, the Gulf of Alaska coast, forecasters said.

“It derives its energy from the warm sea surface,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Alan Shriver, who spoke from Anchorage. “This is an exceptionally rare event.”

The National Weather Service office in Fairbanks warned the storm could be the strongest in over a decade. 

“Impacts may exceed the 2011 Bering Sea Superstorm, and some locations may experience their worst coastal flooding in nearly 50 years,” it said in a tweet. “Peak water levels will persist for 10 to 14 hours before water recedes.” 

Buoys have recorded waves of more than 50 feet in the south central Bering Sea, and the lowest pressure ever measured in the sea in September was recorded Friday, but remains unverified, Shriver said.

The National Weather Service office in Fairbanks warned the storm could be the strongest in over a decade. 

“Impacts may exceed the 2011 Bering Sea Superstorm, and some locations may experience their worst coastal flooding in nearly 50 years,” it said in a tweet Thursday. “Peak water levels will persist for 10 to 14 hours before water recedes.” 

Buoys have recorded waves of more than 50 feet in the south central Bering Sea, and the lowest pressure ever measured in the sea in September was recorded Friday, but remains unverified, Shriver said.

The state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management has called for a heightened state of awareness because a “strong storm” was en route.

Hurricane-force gusts — wind speeds greater than 74 mph — have been recorded off Adak Island, part of the Aleutian Islands, Shriver said. 

“There hasn’t been a September storm this strong in the northern Bering Sea region in the past 70 years,” tweeted Rick Thoman, a climate specialist with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy.

Historic coastal flooding was possible, he said. …read more

Source:: AOL.com

      

Strongest in a decade: Alaska braces for powerful storm

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