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    Jesse Ferrell

    130 MPH: Extreme Alaska Wind Storm Cuts Off Anchorage

    By Jesse Ferrell, Meteorologist/Community Director
    9/05/2012, 8:55:16 AM

    UPDATE: Here is an excellent surface / satellite map showing the storm yesterday from CIMSS:


    Last night, the National Weather Service in Anchorage, Alaska, issued a dire warning about high winds with an incoming storm: "The Anchorage National Weather Forecast office is predicting tonight's storm to produce strong and potentially damaging wind gusts for a large area: UPPER ANCHORAGE HILLSIDE-TURNAGAIN ARM: 75-100 miles per hour." This morning they followed up with: "The internet, phone, and power outages affecting most on Anchorage continue to affect the NWS as well. Our local webpages remain unavailable this morning." The last forecast map that they issued is shown below:


    Pfaff Mine reported wind gusts to 81 mph while Harding Ice Field reported 83-mph gusts, but the highest I found was an Alaska DOT station on the Seward Highway which measured 88 mph. Higher wind gusts may have been observed, but the data is not available due to the internet outages. On Facebook, a representative from the NWS said "KTUU reported gusts of 131mph (unofficial) but the [NWS] Forecast Office is still trying to get lines up and data compiled."


    Getting information about power outages there is also challenging because the Internet lines are down. Ironically, Anchorage Municipal Light & Power's website was not responding as of this writing. The Anchorage Daily News listed outages as "scattered" last night but has a slideshow of tree damage from yesterday (it is still dark there as I am writing this. KTUU says that schools have closed for the day and that power companies aren't sure how many customers have lost power, but estimates are around 25,000 (about 10% of the population of Anchorage, according to WikiPedia).

    It's plenty cold too -- CoolWx.com says that station KAKE has tied their record low of 41 degrees. WeatherEyes says snow will be possible in higher terrain. The pressure from the storm was estimated at 974 mb yesterday by the GFS model, a Category 2 Hurricane equivalent pressure on the old SS Scale. Joe Lundberg says that these types of strong storms are not unusual in Alaska, but this one has come a bit early for the season, while the tree leaves are still attached (fall foliage is only appearing in Central Alaska this week), which has made the tree damage worse.


    Below you can see some of the reaction overnight on social media (where cell towers were still up, anyway):

    The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com


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    Jesse Ferrell