JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Residents of Alaska’s vast and sparsely populated west coast prepared for a powerful storm Friday that forecasters said could be one of the worst in recent history, hurricane-force Can threaten gusty winds and high surf that can eliminate lightning and cause flooding
The storm is the remnant of Typhoon Merbok, which University of Alaska Fairbanks climatologist Rick Thoman said is also affecting weather patterns off Alaska – a rare late-night storm now dry this weekend. It is expected to bring rain to the affected parts. California.
“All this warm air that’s brought north by this pre-storm is basically causing a chain reaction in the jet stream down from Alaska,” he said.
“This is a historic storm,” Thoman said of the system as it headed toward Alaska. “In 10 years, people will refer to the September 2022 storm as a benchmark hurricane.”
Hurricane-force winds were forecast in parts of the Bering Sea, while in the smaller communities of Elim and Koyuk, about 90 miles (145 km) from the hub community of Phnom, the water level could rise to 18 feet (5 m) above. could. Normal high tide line according to the National Weather Service. Flood warnings were in effect for parts of northwestern Alaska until Monday.
In Phnom, which has about 3,500 residents, the Leon Boardway at the Phnom Visitors Center, half a block from the Bering Sea, was operating as usual on Fridays. “I just want to keep my door open and the coffee pot on,” he said after it started to rain and the wind started blowing.
But few people were coming. The city’s residents, visitors and businesses, at the end of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and famous for the dredging-for-gold reality show “Bearing Sea Gold,” were climbing windows and otherwise prepared for a storm.
“The sea is getting worse there,” said Boardway, 71, as he checked the center’s webcam, which has a good view of the swell from its high perch.
“I hope everyone stays calm and everyone is just in a good, safe position,” he said.
Typhoon Merbok formed eastward in the Pacific Ocean, where such storms are commonly seen. Water temperatures are unusually warm this year, so the storm “was able to spin,” Thoman said.
Meanwhile, a low pressure system was expected to fall off the Gulf of Alaska and park off the coast of northern California, bringing strong winds before rain late Saturday, the National Weather Service said.
In the Sierra Nevada foothills northeast of the state capital, Sacramento, firefighters are fighting the biggest wildfire in that state so far this year. While rain is needed, the storm was predicted to also bring winds that could spread mosquito fire.
National Weather Service meteorologist Courtney Carpenter said the storm will slow but not end California’s fire season because fuels are severely dry and hot, dry weather will follow.
Forecasters said the weather system would spread rain over the state’s central coast, but there was little, if any, expected over much of Southern California, where mountain and desert communities are dealing with the aftermath of a lot of rain.
Workers clear mudflows on the San Bernardino Mountains, east of Los Angeles, after flash floods on Monday. Rain from the remnants of a Pacific hurricane ravaged Southern California, with winds of up to 100 mph (160 kph) last weekend.
Thursday first responders The body of a woman was found missing as a landslide occurred in her hill town. His remains were found buried under mud, rocks and other debris near his house.
The deluge caused damage to road and infrastructure in desert national parks from the punishing monsoon thunderstorms of summer.
Thiessen reported from Anchorage, Alaska. Antczak reported from Los Angeles.