780 AM | 96.1 FM 

“YOURS FOR WESTERN ALASKA”

(907) 443-5221

Bering Sea storm knocks out reporting from FAA, weather service stations

Several weather stations in Western Alaska were offline Monday and Tuesday due to a significant spring storm in the Bering Sea over the weekend. Several weather stations in Western Alaska were offline Monday and Tuesday due to a significant spring storm in the Bering Sea over the weekend. 
The Federal Aviation Administration weather reporting station in Dillingham. Photo courtesy Rick Thoman/UAF

Several weather stations in Western Alaska were offline Monday and Tuesday due to a significant spring storm in the Bering Sea in mid-May.

According to Rick Thoman at University of Alaska Fairbanks, weather stations in Savoonga, Wales, Shishmaref, Deering, Golovin, Koyuk, Emmonak and Gambell transmitted just one observation over the weekend.  

All those sites, except for Deering, are operated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Deering’s station is operated by the National Weather Service

Thoman says the FAA weather stations are plagued with non-reporting, So they might be collecting data, but it’s not getting out to the public. 

“When we have these significant storms like we had this weekend, it highlights the importance of that missing data,” Thoman said. “We have nothing from St. Lawrence Island. We have stations like Shishmaref that have been offline for months. We have some that are intermittently offline like Teller and St. Michaels.”

The FAA was not available for comment prior to the airing of this story.

Thoman said, in his experience in dealing with the FAA, the agency doesn’t see a problem with stations not reporting data in real-time via two of the three ways it is disseminated.

That includes a dedicated radio frequency for pilots that provides a continuous feed of the current weather observations, by picking up the phone and dialing a telephone number with an automated reading of the current weather, and on the Internet. 

“By the FAA’s definition, if either the phone or the on-frequency is reporting, their job is done,” Thoman said. 

Thoman said not having accurate, up-to-date information can affect boating, flying and life in general in Western Alaska. 

“When we have this really stormy weather, I mean we had wind gusts in excess of 50 miles an hour through the Bering Strait, not having that information has a real impact to weather forecasts, to people’s activities,” Thoman said.

Some weather stations in Western Alaska, including the one in Emmonak, have not been reporting information for months.

As of Tuesday, May 16, the Gambell station resumed sending data.

Image at top: The Federal Aviation Administration weather reporting station in Dillingham. Photo courtesy Rick Thoman/UAF

Share this story

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email

Recent Posts

Goldbug Fire Grows to Over 4,500 Acres

The Goldbug Fire, located about 25 miles south of Deering, has rapidly expanded to 4,633 acres as of the morning of June 15. Alaska Fire Service has mobilized a crew of six smoke jumpers to provide protection to a mining site just one quarter mile from the fire’s edge. At

Read More »

KNOM Radio to Host First-Ever Music Fest

KNOM Radio Mission will host its first-ever Music Fest Friday and Saturday, June 14 and 15. The event, hosted at KNOM’s Back Yard, will be a great opportunity for the Bering Strait region to gather and celebrate the start of summer. Admission to the event is free.  The two-day Music Fest will feature

Read More »

June 13: Rick Thoman’s Climate Highlight for Western Alaska

The following is a transcript from Rick Thoman’s weekly “Climate Highlight for Western Alaska” provided to KNOM Radio. Thoman is a Climate Specialist with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Sea ice has not completely melted out of the Bering Sea, there

Read More »

Teller Man Arrested for Terroristic Threatening

A Teller man has been arrested and transported to Nome’s Anvil Mountain Correctional Center following allegations of threatening to burn down a house, according to an affidavit from Alaska State Troopers. The affidavit reports that Chester Topkok, 26, was reported by his niece, Belinda Smith, who called Troopers on June

Read More »

More

Newsletter:

Work for Us:

Jobs

Contact

Nome:

(907) 443-5221 

Anchorage:

(907) 868-1200 

Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that KNOM Radio Mission is located on the customary lands of Indigenous peoples. 

Based in the Bering Strait region, KNOM broadcasts throughout the homelands of the Iñupiaq, Siberian Yup’ik, Cup’ik and Yup’ik peoples.