Posted at 8:05 AM on November 9, 2011
by Paul Huttner
This may be one for the record books.
Nome looks to be in the direct path of the Mega Storm, which Alaska's NWS compares to the November 11-12, 1974 storm...the strongest in Nome's 113 years of weather records.
"Major differences between the 1974 storm and this upcoming storm include the fact that tides were much greater in the 1974 storm," NWS said. "However, sea ice extent is currently much lower than it was in 1974, thus providing no protection along the coast and greater fetch."
Wind gusts with the storm are forecast to reach 90 to possibly 100 mph just offshore in the Bearing Sea. That's equivalent to a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir Simpson Scale!
Check out the alarming wording from the Fairbanks NWS: (my highlights in bold)
...ALASKA WEST COAST TO BE HIT BY ONE OF THE MOST SEVERE BERING SEA STORMS ON RECORD...
A POWERFUL AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS STORM OF NEAR RECORD OR RECORD MAGNITUDE IS BEARING DOWN ON THE WEST COAST OF ALASKA. AT 9 AM THIS MORNING THE STORM CENTER WAS LOCATED ABOUT 600
MILES SOUTHWEST OF ST LAWRENCE ISLAND. THE STORM IS FORECAST
TO MOVE RAPIDLY NORTHEAST TODAY AND TONIGHT WITH THE CENTER
MOVING ACROSS THE CHUKOTSK PENINSULA TONIGHT. ON WEDNESDAY
THE STORM WILL TAKE A NORTHWESTWARD TRACK INTO THE CHUKCHI SEA.
THE STORM WILL BRING EXTREMELY STRONG WINDS TO ALL OF THE
ALASKA WEST COAST BEGINNING THIS AFTERNOON OVER ST LAWRENCE
ISLAND AND BEGINNING THIS EVENING OVER THE REMAINDER OF
THE WEST COAST...ACCOMPANIED BY WIDESPREAD MAJOR COASTAL
FLOODING AND SEVERE BEACH EROSION OVER MANY PARTS OF THE
COASTLINE. THE WIND WILL PUSH LARGE AMOUNTS OF WATER INTO NORTON SOUND...RAISING SEA LEVELS TO 7 TO 9 FEET ABOVE NORMAL IN NORTON SOUND AND ALONG THE BERING STRAIT COAST. THE EXTREMELY STRONG WINDS WILL PRODUCE HIGH WAVES WHICH WILL PUSH THE HIGH WATER
OVER THE BERING STRAIT COAST AND ST LAWRENCE ISLAND...
SUSTAINED WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO REACH 75 MPH WITH MAXIMUM
GUSTS OF 90 TO 100 MPH. ALONG THE CHUKCHI COAST...WIND
SPEEDS OF 65 TO 70 MPH WITH GUSTS AS HIGH AS 90 MPH ARE
EXPECTED. IN THE NOME AREA...SUSTAINED WINDS AS HIGH AS
60 MPH ARE EXPECTED...WITH GUSTS TO 70 MPH. ALMOST ALL OTHER
AREAS OF THE WEST COAST WILL EXPERIENCE MAXIMUM WIND SPEEDS
OF AT LEAST 50 TO 60 MPH.
THE STORM WILL PRODUCE BLIZZARD OR NEAR BLIZZARD CONDITIONS
OVER MOST AREAS OF THE WESTERN ALASKA MAINLAND...WITH VISIBILITY
REDUCED TO NEAR ZERO IN SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW. PEOPLE ARE URGED
TO SEEK SHELTER NOW AND POSTPONE TRAVEL INTO THE BACK COUNTRY
UNTIL THE STORM ABATES.
ALL BOAT OPERATORS SHOULD SEEK SAFETY IN PORT IMMEDIATELY
IF THEY HAVE NOT ALREADY DONE SO. IN AREAS WHERE BEACH
EROSION AND COASTAL FLOODING IS EXPECTED...SMALL BOATS
AND PERSONAL PROPERTY SHOULD BE MOVED WELL AWAY FROM THE
SHORE AND TO HIGHER GROUND.
AGAIN...THIS WILL BE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND LIFE THREATENING STORM OF AN EPIC MAGNITUDE RARELY EXPERIENCED. ALL PEOPLE IN THE AREA SHOULD TAKE PRECAUTIONS TO SAFEGUARD THEIR LIVES AND PROPERTY.
SEAS ARE STARTING TO BUILD RAPIDLY ALONG THE COAST. ACCORDING
TO RECENT REPORTS AND OBSERVATIONS ALONG THE SEAWALL IN NOME
WAVE ACTION IS SUBSTANTILLY HIGHER WITH SOME SPRAY COMING UP
ONTO THE EAST END OF FRONT STREET...BUT WITH NO SUBSTANTIAL
FLOODING REPORTED AS OF 6 PM. HOWEVER...FRONT STREET IN NOME
AT THIS TIME IS UNDER VOLUNTARY EVACUATION. AS THIS POWERFUL STORM
PROGRESSES THROUGH THE EVENING THE SEAS WILL GET HIGHER AND
CONDITIONS ALONG FRONT STREET AND THE SHORLINE WILL BECOME MORE
Just off the coast, "Hurricane Force Wind Warnings" are flying.
...HURRICANE FORCE WIND WARNING IN EFFECT THROUGH WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON...
.TONIGHT...SE WINDS 55 KT INCREASING TO 65 KT WITH GUSTS TO
75 KT. SEAS 27 FT. VSBY 1 NM OR LESS. SNOW.
.WED...SW WINDS 70 KT WITH GUSTS TO 85 KT DECREASING TO 55 KT IN
THE AFTERNOON. SEAS 29 FT. VSBY 1 NM OR LESS. SNOW.
.WED NIGHT...SW WINDS 45 KT. SEAS 25 FT. HEAVY FREEZING SPRAY.
.THU...SW WINDS 50 KT. SEAS 23 FT. HEAVY FREEZING SPRAY.
I hope all those "Deadly Catch" boats (well, ALL fishermen, of course) have made it in to harbor.
Is this storm coming our way?
I hope the population of Alaska takes this monster seriously. Good Luck.