Big Storm Moves Off Coast, Smaller One Moving In

The Bering Sea storm hammering Alaska’s western coast has moved off toward Russia, but Don Moore with the National Weather Service says a smaller storm is rotating around it.

And it is currently going through western Alaska now, the winds have picked up from the west again, with the movement of the storm into the region. That has caused water to begin to push back up toward the west coast of Alaska,” Moore said.

Moore says the storm surge drove sea water to peak levels late Wednesday and into the evening and then subsided.

However with this new surge coming in we’ll see smaller rises. Basically will remain above typical values by 3 to 5 feet, but no where near as significant as it was yesterday,” Moore said.

Moore says yesterday Nome water levels peaked at 10 feet, which he called significant but lower than the 13.2 record from 1974. Kivalina peaked between 5 and 6 feet above normal tide level. He says the new storm has already moved into the region and is on the backside of the snow storm that came with it. He says the winds will continue through the day and are blowing between 20 to 40 miles per hour.

The peaks in the water levels will occur sometime this morning into the afternoon and then we’ll see water levels began to subside to more typical values after tonight,” Moore said.

Moore says another large storm is moving into Southwest Alaska and it will produce a blizzard, but will also impact sea water levels.

“With the storm moving into Southwest Alaska, that will create strong off shore flow, in Norton sound, with offshore flow up in Kotzebue Sound but not quite as strong so it is actually going to push the water away, and they’re going to see water levels actually go below what they would typically see,” Moore said.

Damage reported to the state incident command center from coastal communities has so far been minor.

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Lori Townsend is the news director and senior host for Alaska Public Media. You can send her program ideas for Talk of Alaska and Alaska Insight at ltownsend@alaskapublic.org or call 907-350-2058.