Update: All of the boats from Deadliest Catch have reportedly now made it safely to port.
The Seattle-based fishing crews of “Deadliest Catch” fame are racing to get ahead of a “meteorological bomb” raging in Alaska’s Bering Sea.
The remnants of Japan’s Typhoon Nuri was triggering winds close to 100 mph with waves up to 50 feet Friday, the National Weather Service reported.
The storm could potentially be the strongest to hit Alaska’s Bering Sea since October 1977 when it peaks by Saturday before weakening.
What the NWS calls a meteorological bomb, or “bomb cyclone,” was hitting in the middle of the Bering Sea crab season that draws dozens of crews from Seattle, including the stars of the hit TV series “Deadliest Catch.”
Captain Jonathan Hillstrand of the Time Bandit told ABC News via satellite phone that his crew was furiously pulling up crab pots and racing to Dutch Harbor, about 200 miles away.
“We’re trying to get our gear out as fast as humanly possible,” he said. “It’s up to God now whether we beat it or not. Hopefully, we’ll be in safe harbor before that hits.”
Hillstrand told ABC the winds were powerful enough to capsize his boat. While the Time Bandit and other boats, including many from Seattle, headed for safe harbor, Hillstrand said other crews were planning to ride out the storm – forecast to be far stronger than even Hurricane Sandy, which hammered the East Coast in 2012.
“From what I’m hearing, we haven’t been through anything like that before, at least not in my lifetime,” Hillstrand told ABC. “And I don’t want to. We’ve seen 50-foot waves, we’ve seen 120-knot winds. I’ve been out in stuff like that. But the difference is, if it’s going to hit here with that kind of power, you don’t know the frequency of the waves. We don’t know how it’s going to affect the ocean differently. I don’t want to stick around to find out.”