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WeatherMatrix (Jesse Ferrell)

Weather Flying Wild in Alaska: 10-Foot Surge, 80 MPH

By Jesse Ferrell, Meteorologist/Community Director
11/08/2011, 10:14:39 AM

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UPDATE: A satellite photo is also available from the NWS, and I've archived an AccuWeather.com satellite loop here.

While all eyes are on Subtropical Storm Sean, the National Weather Service posted the infographic and commentary below on their Facebook Page earlier today, showing a massive (perhaps record) storm approaching the west coast of Alaska. Here's a look at the WaveWatch forecast model prediction of wave height - well over 30 feet offshore:


The NWS TV weather map shows the location of the intense storm tomorrow afternoon and the models prog it to make "landfall" around 948 mb pressure (equivalent to a strong Category 3 Hurricane on the no-longer-used Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale).


The NWS explains:

A historic hurricane-force storm system is moving into the Bering Sea today. The storm, which is forecast to have sustained winds of 80 mph over an area the size of Colorado, is also predicted to produce storm surge effects on the Alaskan coast 8 to 10 feet above normal water levels. The Alaskan City of Nome is in its path. Blizzard conditions will be common across inland western Alaska. Offshore, waves will reach higher than 40 feet, and dangerous heavy freezing spray will affect the Bering and Chukchi Seas. The lack of sea ice in the Bering Sea will allow this storm to maximize its impact.


This storm could be historic for Alaska and is comparable to the November 11-12, 1974, Bering Sea storm that remains the most severe in Nome in 113 years of record keeping. Major differences between the 1974 storm and this upcoming storm include the fact that tides were much greater in the 1974 storm. However, sea ice extent is currently much lower than it was in 1974, thus providing no protection along the coast and greater fetch.

For our Nome, Alaska forecast on AccuWeather.com Premium, it goes down like this:


Winter Storm Warning? Check.
Coastal Flood Warning? Check.
93-mph winds? Check.
RealFeel™ temperature of 10 below? Check. No wonder there are so many reality shows there.

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


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WeatherMatrix (Jesse Ferrell)