Strong storm off the coast of Alaska causes impending flooding and winds

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Flooding and damaging winds are starting to affect parts of Alaska’s west coast early Saturday, as a severe storm threatens the region over the weekend.

The remnants of Typhoon Merbok could potentially cause the state’s strongest storm in more than a decade, meteorologists said.

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Weather and local officials urged residents to brace for the dangerous storm, which has already reported hurricane-force wind gusts and 50-foot waves in the Bering Sea early Friday morning.

“As we receive more reports, we cannot emphasize this enough. PLEASE do not approach flooded areas. Remember, turn around, don’t drown. It only takes 6” to get you off the ground,” warned the National Weather Service in Fairbanks.

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Generally, the storm has winds between 64 km/h and 96 km/h, with gusts of 144 km/h, according to the weather service. Water levels can be as high as 365 to 548 feet above normal in some bays, with wide areas 96 to 304 centimeters above normal.

And that’s why weather officials have advised caution, as the storm could overwhelm critical infrastructure and wash away roads. As of Friday night, water levels in the town of Golovin were rising rapidly, the Fairbanks Weather Service said.

“The water continues to rise and will rise throughout the night. Significant impacts are likely to continue. Stay safe,” the weather service said.

It could take about 10 to 14 hours for the water to recede, causing flooding overnight Saturday, the weather service warned.

The storm triggered several extreme weather warnings for coastal flooding, high winds and air due to threats of severe low-level turbulence in western Alaska, according to the Weather Service.

Coastal flood warnings were also issued for all coasts along the west coast of Alaska, between the northern Arctic Circle and the coast of the Kuskokwim Delta.

“Strong winds and coastal flooding will continue to increase Saturday afternoon local time. Peak winds are likely to occur overnight to Saturday morning, as well as the worst coastal flooding,” said the meteorologist at CNN Derek Van Dam.

By early Saturday morning, water levels along Unalakleet, Shaktoolik and Golovin are expected to reach at least 304 centimeters above high tide and winds of up to 80 km/h with higher gusts of up to 144 km/h, according to the report. weather service.

Other areas including Shishmaref, Wales and Kivalina could see water reach at least 1.5 meters or more this weekend.

In Nome, where the water can reach at least 270 centimeters above high tide on Saturday, authorities opened a recreation center as an emergency shelter and urged its more than 10,000 residents to be prepared.

“Port users must protect boats and vessels in the harbor and at Belmont Point. Please check your lines and equipment periodically to avoid losses,” the city of Nome said on its Facebook page.

Meanwhile, the state division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said local agencies are aware of the storm and are preparing to respond.

In 2011, Alaska suffered a storm system that left behind a wide swath of destruction. Like Merbok, the 2011 storm was an extratropical storm. Such a storm or cyclone has cold air at its core – unlike a tropical storm or cyclone which has a warm core. Both can cause significant damage from high winds, heavy rain and storms.

While most areas will see around 25 millimeters of rain with this storm, some can catch up to 3 inches over the weekend.

Even if Anchorage — more than 804 kilometers from Nome — gets 25 to 50 millimeters of precipitation from this storm, it will push this year into the wettest first five years on record.

Source: CNN Brasil

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