Of course I'd like to know what this storm will do to the ice and coasts, but first and foremost I hope that no one gets hurt.
November 9 (CNN) – A winter storm of hurricane strength was slamming Alaska early Wednesday with winds of up to 100 mph, high seas and blizzard conditions.
The National Weather Service called the storm moving into the state off the Bering Sea "a powerful and extremely dangerous storm of record or near-record magnitude."
Early Wednesday, Twitter reports said wind speeds in Nome in northwestern Alaska had reached 100 mph. That would be the equivalent of a category 2 hurricane if it occurred in the tropics. Twitter postings reported structural damage in Nome, including the roof blown off a building. Landline phones were down, according to a Twitter post.
"These things get named hurricanes down south and get a category. It's that magnitude," said Jeff Osiensky, regional warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service, told the Anchorage Daily News. The storm's scope was also hurricane-like, he said, covering 750 to 1,000 miles in breadth.
Chip Leeper, incident commander with the Nome government, told CNN that people in low-lying areas and on along the town's sea wall had been advised to seek shelter elsewhere.
National Weather Service meteorologist Steven Kearney told CNN that Nome could endure sea levels up to 8 feet above normal as well as 10-foot waves.
Other coastal and island villages were preparing evacuations if surf became too high.
Inland, the storm was expected to produce blizzard or near-blizzard conditions across western Alaska, the weather service said. Snow accumulations of up to 14 inches were possible. A Twitter poster reported winds gusts of 50 mph in the inland village of Aniak early Wednesday.
CNN also has regular updates now that the storm has reached Alaska.
An interesting quote from the Weather Channel:
Offshore, waves have been reported as high as 40 feet, and dangerous heavy freezing spray will affect the Bering and Chukchi Seas. Waves of 15 to 25 feet are expected to crash along portions of the coastline.
The current lack of sea ice in the Bering Sea will allow this storm to maximize its impact. Ice typically acts as a natural barrier that mitigates the effects of destructive wave action and coastal flooding along the shoreline.
This image was on Jeff Masters' blog: Predicted storm surge for today's storm, as forecast by the Ocean Prediction Center's Extratropical Storm Surge Model. Image credit: NOAA Environmental Visualization Lab.: