HomeUncategorizedNightmare Storm Set to Engulf Alaska

Nightmare Storm Set to Engulf Alaska

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Residents on the wide and thinly populated western shore of Alaska readied themselves on Friday for a storm that forecasters warned might be one of the worst in recent history, bringing hurricane-force gusts and high surf that could knock out electricity and trigger floods.

The storm is the remains of Typhoon Merbok, according to University of Alaska Fairbanks climate researcher Rick Thoman. A rare late-summer storm is now anticipated to provide rain to drought-stricken regions of California this weekend.

“All this warm air that’s been brought north by this ex-typhoon is basically inducing a chain reaction in the jet stream downstream from Alaska,” he said.

“It’s a historic-level storm,” Thoman said of the system steaming toward Alaska. “In 10 years, people will be referring to the September 2022 storm as a benchmark storm.”

The National Weather Service predicted hurricane-force gusts in sections of the Bering Sea, while in the tiny settlements of Elim and Koyuk, some 90 miles from Nome, sea levels might reach 18 feet over the typical high tide line.

In sections of northwest Alaska, flood watches remained in force until Monday.

Friday, Leon Boardway was working as usual at the Nome Visitors Center, a half-block from the Bering Sea, in Nome, Alaska, a town of around 3,500 people.

“I just want to keep my door open and the coffee pot on,” he said after it had begun to rain and the winds picked up.

However, few individuals were present. Residents, visitors, and businesses in the town, renowned for being the finish of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and the scene for the gold-dredging reality show “Bering Sea Gold,” boarded up windows and prepared for the storm.

“The ocean is getting worse out there,” remarked Boardway, 71, as he viewed the center’s camera, which provided a clear glimpse of the surges from a high vantage point.

“I hope everybody stays calm and everybody just gets in a good, safe position,” he said.

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Typhoon Merbok originated further east in the Pacific Ocean than is customary for such storms. This year’s water temperatures are exceptionally high, thus the storm “was able to spin up,” according to Thoman.

Meanwhile, a low-pressure system was expected to drop from the Gulf of Alaska and park off the coast of Northern California, producing gusty ridgetop winds before rains set in late Saturday, the National Weather Service said.

In the Sierra Nevada foothills northeast of the state capital of Sacramento, fire crews have been fighting what has become the largest wildfire in that state so far this year.

While rain is needed, the storm was predicted to also bring winds that could spread the Mosquito Fire.

The storm will slow but not end California’s fire season because fuels are critically dry and a period of warmer, drier weather will follow, said Courtney Carpenter, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

Forecasters said the weather system will spread rain down the state’s central coast but little if any is expected in most of Southern California, where mountain and desert communities are dealing with the aftermath of too much rain.

Crews were clearing head-high mud flows in the San Bernardino Mountains east of Los Angeles, following flash-flooding Monday.

Downpours from remnants of a Pacific hurricane caused the devastation in Southern California, with winds topping 100 mph last weekend.

First responders on Thursday found the body of a woman missing since the mudslides tore through her mountain town. Her remains were discovered buried under mud, rocks and other debris near her home.

The deluges added to road and infrastructure damage in desert national parks from the summer’s punishing monsoonal thunderstorms.

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