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Alaska faces strongest storm in over a decade

All eyes in Alaska will be on the remnants of Typhoon Merbok as the system moves over the southern Bering Sea on Thursday night, before becoming what is expected to be the strongest storm on record. .

The National Weather Service in Fairbanks has warned coastal residents to complete storm preparations by Friday morning as conditions will begin to deteriorate rapidly on Friday afternoon.

“This will likely be the strongest storm in more than a decade, with impacts that will likely rival what we saw in 2011 from what is known as the Bering Sea superstorm,” meteorologist Jonathan Chriest told CNN .

This 2011 Alaskan storm, with wind gusts of over 144.8 km/h, left a large swath of destruction. Like Merbok, the 2011 system was an extratropical storm.

An extratropical storm or cyclone has cold air at its core, unlike a tropical storm or cyclone that has a warm core. Both can cause significant damage from high winds, heavy rain and storms.

“When a big storm comes, we always say, ‘Does it compare to the storm in 2011? CNN . “This is the first storm since 2011 that we are very confident… let’s compare the impact.”

This week’s storm will not only rival the 2011 event, but is expected to reach a magnitude unlike any other during the month of September.

The storm’s central pressure, a metric that can indicate how much wind and storm surge a system can produce, is expected to drop to 940 hPa, a number typically found in Category 3 and Category 4 storms.

“In September, we never had a storm with the central pressure in the Bering Sea below 960 hPa,” Christest said.

On Friday, the remnants of Typhoon Merbok are expected to move into the Bering Sea and are expected to be “bombed”.

This process is also known as bombogenesis, referring to a pressure drop of 24 millibars in 24 hours or less. This means the storm is rapidly strengthening and has the potential to cause significant damage.

The storm has the ability to generate extensive flooding, significant storm surge, wave heights of 15.2 meters and strong winds.

“Name-Council Road runs along the coast and there is a possibility that the road will be unobstructed. Since it’s September, it’s still hunting season, so there are likely to be hundreds of people hunting in the mountains north of Nome, where The Nome-Council Road works,” Christest said.

Christest said many of the hunters are off the grid and may not have access to the latest storm forecasts.

“In addition to coastal flooding, coastal erosion is also possible,” Eric Drewitz, a meteorologist with the weather service in Anchorage, told CNN .

“Hurricane-force winds are expected in the Bering Sea. Western and central Aleutians are under a strong wind alert for winds of 80 to 110 km/h, with gusts of 145 km/h. The Pribilof Islands are under strong wind surveillance for winds of 80 to 105 km/h, with gusts of 137 km/h.

Flood alerts were also issued for all coasts along the west coast of Alaska, from the north of the Arctic Circle to the coast of the Kuskokwim Delta.

While strong winds and thunderstorms are expected to be the main impacts of this storm, the accumulation of rain cannot be ignored. Anchorage has been exceptionally wet this year. In fact, it’s on track for the wettest year on record.

“Even if it didn’t rain during (the rest of 2022), they would end up in the 10 wettest years ever,” the weather service said in a statement. a tweet.

While most areas will see about 2 inches of rain from this storm, some areas may see 5 to 7 inches over the weekend. Even if Anchorage only catches a 1-2 centimeter storm, it will push this year into the wettest five years on record.

With information from CNN’s Judson Jones

Source: CNN Brasil

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