'Strongest Storm in Over a Decade' Set to Slam Alaska

Remnants of Typhoon Merbok to wreak havoc on state's western coast this weekend
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2022 9:02 AM CDT
Alaska Is Bracing for an Unusually Powerful Storm
This image shows a satellite view over Alaska on Thursday.   (NOAA via AP)

There may be only remnants of Typhoon Merbok moving toward Alaska's western coastline, but that doesn't mean the weather there won't pack a punch when it hits land. In fact, forecasters are calling the storm set to slam the Last Frontier on Friday "the strongest storm in over a decade," with expected downpours and hurricane-force winds of up to 60mph, leading to "potentially historical coastal flooding" and big-time beach erosion, reports CNN.

One meteorologist says that description might even be underplaying the storm's severity. "It looks like it could be one of the worst storms we've seen in at least 50 years ... on the west coast," Scott Berg of the National Weather Service office in Fairbanks tells the New York Times. Some locations, including Savoonga and the Diomede islands in the Bering Strait, could see wind gusts of up to 90mph, per the NWS. Most affected areas will see at least an inch of rain, while some may log up to 3 inches.

Weather forecasters say the storm's effects will last Friday through Sunday, warning that water levels will reach their peak on Saturday, then not start to subside for 10 to 14 hours. In Nome, those levels could surge to 11 feet above the normal tide line, while in Golovin that number could reach 13 feet, according to the NWS, notes the AP. The last time Alaska was said to have seen weather this powerful was an extratropical storm that swept through in 2011. "Residents along the coast south of the Bering Strait are encouraged to rapidly finish preparations," meteorologists warned on Thursday night, per the Times. (More Alaska stories.)

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