Alaska News Nightly: September 5, 2012

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NWS Says Worst of the Storm is Over

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

Last night Anchorage residents experienced extremely high winds resulting in tree loss and structural damage to homes, but the distribution was erratic. Andy Dickson is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Anchorage. He says wind measurement equipment along Turnagain Arm and Glen Alps failed shortly after 6:00 p.m. Tuesday evening but there were dramatic citizen accounts mixed in with the official record.

Dickson says the highest gust in the city itself was 63 miles per hour recorded at the port shortly after 10:00 p.m.

Dickson says there’s been nearly half an inch of rain so far, but there are no flooding concerns. He says the high wind warnings were only issued for Anchorage, Turnagain Arm and Portage Valley, but winds affected the entire Aleutian chain and parts of Southwest Alaska.

Dickson says it’s somewhat unusual for a storm to be this strong so early in the fall and the path of the wind from the Hillside down through the city was also unusual. He says there will be gusty south winds of 15 to 30 miles per hour affecting Anchorage for the remainder of the day, but he says, the worst of the storm is over.

Anchorage Residents Endure, Recover From Wind Storm

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

The wind storm took down trees across Anchorage and caused extensive damage to some homes and properties in the city.

Most Outlying Areas Avoid Most Storm Damage

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

Most of the areas surrounding Anchorage seem to have avoided serious damage from last night’s wind storm.

Matanuska Susitna Borough deputy emergency services director Casey Cook says the Borough got “some wind and rain” but not much else. Seward, Girdwood and Whittier also fared relatively well.

But the story around Chugiak was quite different. Ray Holmsen in who lives in the Birchwood area near Chugiak, says he’s never seen anything like the storm in the 45 years he’s lived on North Birchwood Loop

Holmsen says he lost about 50 trees on his property, all birches.

500 Delta Homes Still Without Power

Tim Ellis, KUAC – Fairbanks

About 500 homes in the Delta Junction area were still without power this afternoon, more than 18 hours after high winds gusting to 76 miles per hour pounded the area Tuesday night.

Cost Will Play Major Part in Beluga Recovery Plan Success

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

Because the Cook Inlet whales are listed as Endangered, the Endangered Species Act mandates that critical habitat be identified and a recovery plan must be developed. Mandy Migura is a marine biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service. Migura is the NMFS liaison to the recovery team tasked with developing the plan for Cook Inlet whales. She says the process is complex. It could take decades and the cost will be significant. That expense may be a major factor for the plan’s success because Migura says the requirement to write the plan is where the mandate ends.

Government Eyeing Down Fiscal Crisis, $1.2 Trillion In Cuts

Peter Granitz, APRN – Washington DC

The country is staring down a fiscal crisis come January 2nd. If Congress fails to act, a combination of more than one trillion dollars in federal spending cuts, and the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts will likely send the economy into recession.

That duo of tax increases and spending cuts has been dubbed the fiscal cliff… an ominous name for a serious situation.

School Cancellation Causes Students To Miss Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Lecture

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

Because of Tuesday night’s windstorm in Anchorage, hundreds of middle and high school students in the city missed the opportunity to hear Justice Sandra Day O’Connor speak Wednesday. The retired Supreme Court Justice is in town to talk about her life and promote a civics education program she established. iCivics offers games that teach students how the court system and other branches of government work.

Coast Guard Recovers Drifting Weather Buoy

Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka

This time, it’s the story of the buoy that didn’t get away. The US Coast Guard Cutter Maple retrieved the Cape Edgecumbe weather buoy last week, after the errant instrument spent six days adrift in the Gulf of Alaska.  The buoy was only about 10 miles off station, dutifully transmitting weather and ocean conditions as it slowly cruised north and west in the balmiest seas of the summer.

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