Alaska braces for floods, power outages as huge storm nears

Sep 16, 2022, 3:41 AM | Updated: Sep 17, 2022, 5:40 am
This image provided by the Nome Convention and Visitors Bureau shows a view from a web cam in Nome,...

This image provided by the Nome Convention and Visitors Bureau shows a view from a web cam in Nome, Alaska, Friday, Sept. 16, 2022. Much of Alaska's western coast could see flooding and high winds as the remnants of Typhoon Merbok moved into the Bering Sea region. The National Weather Service says some locations could experience the worst coastal flooding in 50 years. (Nome Convention and Visitors Bureau via AP)

(Nome Convention and Visitors Bureau via AP)

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Residents on Alaska’s vast and sparsely populated western coast braced Friday for a powerful storm that forecasters said could be one of the worst in recent history, threatening hurricane-force winds and high surf that could knock out power and cause flooding.

The storm is the remnants of what was Typhoon Merbok, which University of Alaska Fairbanks climate specialist Rick Thoman said is also influencing weather patterns far from Alaska — a rare late-summer storm now is expected to bring rain this weekend to drought-stricken parts of California.

“All this warm air that’s been brought north by this ex-typhoon is basically inducing a chain reaction in the jet stream downstream from Alaska,” he said.

“It’s a historic-level storm,” Thoman said of the system steaming toward Alaska. “In 10 years, people will be referring to the September 2022 storm as a benchmark storm.”

Hurricane-force winds were forecast in parts of the Bering Sea, while in the small communities of Elim and Koyuk, around 90 miles (145 kilometers) from the hub community of Nome, water levels could be up to 18 feet (5 meters) above the normal high tide line, according to the National Weather Service. Flood warnings were in effect until Monday in parts of northwest Alaska.

In Nome, which has about 3,500 residents, Leon Boardway was working as usual Friday at the Nome Visitors Center, a half-block from the Bering Sea. “I just want to keep my door open and the coffee pot on,” he said after it had begun to rain and the winds picked up.

But few people were coming by. Residents, visitors and businesses in the town, famous for being at the end of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and the setting for the dredging-for-gold reality show “Bering Sea Gold,” were boarding up windows and otherwise bracing for the storm.

“The ocean is getting worse out there,” said Boardway, 71, as he checked out the center’s webcam, which from its high perch has a good view of the swells.

“I hope everybody stays calm and everybody just gets in a good, safe position,” he said.

Typhoon Merbok formed farther east in the Pacific Ocean than where such storms typically appear. Water temperatures are unusually warm this year so the storm “was able to spin up,” Thoman said.

Meanwhile, a low-pressure system was expected to drop from the Gulf of Alaska and park off the coast of Northern California, producing gusty ridgetop winds before rains set in late Saturday, the National Weather Service said.

In the Sierra Nevada foothills northeast of the state capital of Sacramento, fire crews have been fighting what has become the largest wildfire in that state so far this year. While rain is needed, the storm was predicted to also bring winds that could spread the Mosquito Fire.

The storm will slow but not end California’s fire season because fuels are critically dry and a period of warmer, drier weather will follow, said Courtney Carpenter, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

Forecasters said the weather system will spread rain down the state’s central coast but little if any is expected in most of Southern California, where mountain and desert communities are dealing with the aftermath of too much rain.

Crews were clearing head-high mud flows in the San Bernardino Mountains east of Los Angeles, following flash-flooding Monday. Downpours from remnants of a Pacific hurricane caused the devastation in Southern California, with winds topping 100 mph (160 kph) last weekend.

First responders on Thursday found the body of a woman missing since the mudslides tore through her mountain town. Her remains were discovered buried under mud, rocks and other debris near her home.

The deluges added to road and infrastructure damage in desert national parks from the summer’s punishing monsoonal thunderstorms.

___

Thiessen reported from Anchorage, Alaska. Antczak reported from Los Angeles.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Ruptured oil pipeline off California approved for repairs

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Texas oil company was granted permission to repair an underwater pipeline that ruptured off the coast of Southern California a year ago, spilled tens of thousands of gallons of crude, and forced beaches and fisheries to close. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted the approval Friday to Amplify Energy […]
18 hours ago
Police officers fire tear gas during a soccer match at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java, Ind...
Associated Press

129 dead after fans stampede to exit Indonesian soccer match

MALANG, Indonesia (AP) — Panic at an Indonesian soccer match after police fired tear gas to stop brawls left 129 dead, mostly trampled to death, police said Sunday. Several fights between supporters of the two rival soccer teams were reported inside the Kanjuruhan Stadium in East Java province’s Malang city after the Indonesian Premier League […]
18 hours ago
Helen Koch, a dog breeder, is evacuated with some of her 17 dogs on a helicopter for mediccorps.org...
Associated Press

Residents leave Florida’s Pine Island, Hurricane Ian’s ruin

PINE ISLAND, Fla. (AP) — Paramedics and other volunteers with a group that helps rescue people after natural disasters went door to door Saturday on Florida’s devastated Pine Island, offering to evacuate residents who rode out Hurricane Ian only to find themselves stranded in a landscape of flooded homes without water or electricity. The largest […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Saturday’s Scores

PREP FOOTBALL= Darrington 46, Lummi 36 Napavine 71, Bellingham 13 Shadle Park 42, Rogers (Spokane) 7 ___ Some high school football scores provided by Scorestream.com, https://scorestream.com/ Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
18 hours ago
FILE - President Donald Trump speaks at the White House in Washington, on Nov. 5, 2020. In a Friday...
Associated Press

Archives: Records from Trump WH staffers remain missing

WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Archives and Records Administration informed lawmakers that a number of electronic communications from Trump White House staffers remain missing, nearly two years since the administration was required to turn them over. The nation’s record-keeping agency, in a letter Friday to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, said that despite […]
18 hours ago
Women work in fields near the windmill farm in Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh, India, Wednesday...
Associated Press

What the war in Ukraine means for Asia’s climate goals

NEW DELHI, India (AP) — The queues outside petrol pumps in Sri Lanka have lessened, but not the anxiety. Asanka Sampath, a 43-year-old factory clerk, is forever vigilant. He checks his phone for messages, walks past the pump, and browses social media to see if fuel has arrived. Delays could mean being left stranded for […]
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Alaska braces for floods, power outages as huge storm nears