Flooding and destructive winds began to affect parts of Alaska’s west coast early Saturday as a powerful storm threatens to hit the region over the weekend.
Forecasters have said the remnants of Typhoon Merbok could potentially give rise to the state’s strongest storm in more than a decade.
Weather and local officials are urging residents to be prepared for the dangerous storm, which had already reported storm-force wind gusts and wave heights exceeding 50 feet in the Bering Sea on Friday morning.
“As we get more reports, we cannot stress this enough. Please do not go near any flood prone area. Remember, flip, don’t drown. The National Weather Service in Fairbanks warns that it only takes 6″ to sweep you off your feet.
Typically, the storm is packing winds between 40 mph and 60 mph, with gusts of 90 mph, according to the Weather Service. Water levels can be 12 to 18 feet above normal in some sections, with extensive areas 3 to 10 feet above normal.
And that’s why weather officials have advised caution as the storm affects critical infrastructure and washes out roads.
The Weather Service in Fairbanks said late Friday night, the water level in the city of Golovin was rising rapidly.
“The water continues to rise and will continue to rise throughout the night. The significant impact is likely to continue. stay safe,” weather service Told.
The Meteorological Department has warned that it may take about 10 to 14 hours for the water to recede, due to which the floods will continue till Saturday night.
According to the Weather Service, the storm has led to coastal flooding, high winds as well as several extreme weather warnings for wind, due to the threat of low-level severe disturbance over western Alaska.
Coastal flood watches have also been issued for all coastlines along the west coast of Alaska from north of the Arctic Circle down to the Kuskokwim Delta coast.
“Saturday afternoon local time, strong winds and coastal flooding will continue to increase. CNN meteorologist Derek Van Damme said the peak of winds is likely to occur overnight Saturday morning, as is the worst coastal flooding.
On Saturday evening, water level with Unalkalit, Shktulik and Golovin is expected to be at least 10 feet above high tide and winds of 50 mph gusting to 90 mph are expected. Weather Service.
Water could reach at least 5 feet or more this weekend in other areas, including Sheeshmaref, Wales and Kivalina.
In Phnom, where water can reach at least 9 feet above high tide on Saturday, officials have opened a recreation center as an emergency shelter and urged its 10,000-plus residents to be prepared.
“Port users should secure yachts and ships in port and at Belmont Point. Please check your lines and gear from time to time to avoid damage,” the city of Phnom said on its Facebook page.
Meanwhile, the state’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said local agencies are aware of the storm and are preparing to respond.
In 2011, Alaska endured a hurricane system that left behind an extensive swath of destruction. Like Meerbok, the 2011 hurricane was an extratropical storm. Such a storm or cyclone has cold air at its core – unlike a tropical storm or cyclone that has a warm core. Both can cause significant damage from strong winds, heavy rain, and storm surges.
While most areas will receive about 1 inch of rain with this storm, some may receive up to 3 inches of rain over the weekend.
Even if Anchorage — more than 500 miles from Nome — picks up 1 to 2 inches of precipitation from this storm, it would push this year into the top five warmest years on record.