Remnants of Typhoon Bolaven will bring heavy rain, strong winds to Southeast Alaska

a rainy street
Rain trickles onto the pavement in an intersection in downtown Juneau, Nov. 19, 2019. (Ryan Cunningham/KTOO)

The remnants of Typhoon Bolaven will reach the Gulf of Alaska this week, bringing moderate to heavy rain and strong winds to Southeast Alaska.

National Weather Service meteorologist Kimberly Vaughan said rain is expected to pick up on Tuesday morning.

“We’re looking for rain to continue through the week,” Vaughan said. “It will somewhat taper off by Friday.” 

A high wind warning is in effect for communities in the Southern panhandle — including Prince of Wales Island, Ketchikan and Metlakatla — with winds between 20 and 30 mph and gusts up to 60 mph as the ex-typhoon makes landfall on Tuesday morning. 

Winds at that speed could blow down trees or power lines, which could cause blackouts in those communities. 

Though rain will be heavy, 24-hour rainfall totals are expected to be between one and two inches. Meteorologists say that’s similar to a typical fall storm.

“It’s still going to be heavy rain, and we’re going to continue to monitor river levels,” Vaughan said. “But it’s not anything that’s likely to be record-breaking.” 

There is still the potential for minor flooding across the entire panhandle. Meteorologists will update forecasts to give more detail on flood potential as rain begins to fall. 

At its peak over the western Pacific Ocean this past weekend, Typhoon Bolaven reached wind speeds of 180 miles per hour, making it the second strongest storm worldwide of 2023. 

Ocean temperatures are warming worldwide due to human-caused climate change, which can lead to more intense storms like Typhoon Bolaven. Warm ocean waters can cause storms to grow stronger, faster. Current water temperatures in the Western Pacific are about 1 to 3 degrees above average.

There are also El Niño conditions this fall, which makes ocean temperatures even warmer. El Niño is a natural climate pattern that brings warmer waters to parts of the south Pacific Ocean, which affects weather in Alaska and across North America.  

When El Niño conditions combine with warming caused by climate change, it can fuel more intense storms.

Typhoon Bolaven weakened significantly as it moved across the open ocean over the weekend. By the time it makes landfall in the Southeast, it will be even less powerful. Still, people across Southeast should expect a week of wet weather.  

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