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Second storm expected to bring high winds and waters

A storm from the Bering Sea, which slapped the Seward Peninsula the past week, has canceled school and flights in some western Alaskan communities, including Nome. Another storm in the western Bering Sea is expected to move into the Chukchi Sea this [Monday] afternoon, and could cause minor flooding tonight (Jan. 15).

The second storm is expected to bring winds of up to 50 mph along Alaska’s western coasts. Water levels are expected to rise as much as five feet, between the Y-K Delta, to the Baldwin Peninsula, according to a weather statement from the National Weather Service in Fairbanks.

Rick Thoman is a climatologist for the Alaska Center for Climate Assessments and Policy (ACCAP). 

“[It’s] a very fast moving storm. And that, of course, is contributing to the strong winds that we have across the Bering Sea and through the Bering Strait this morning.”

Thoman said the tidal level is two feet higher than what climatologists would normally expect for places like Nome around this time of year. He said higher water levels could even cause minor flooding along the Bering Sea coastline and that water will likely flow on top of sea ice. 

Infrastructure isn’t expected to flood, but valuables should be moved to higher ground, according to the statement.

Thoman said Nome has had significantly more precipitation than normal as well. He said that the precipitation between Thursday and Monday had surpassed records set over half a century ago in 1960.

“This is part of the trend that we see in western Alaska everywhere. These increasing frequency of these high precipitation events, whether it’s individual storms bringing very high amounts of moisture or repeated storms, bringing lots of moisture in aggregate.”

After this incoming second storm, forecasters predict cooler and drier conditions. For the most current weather updates, visit the National Weather Service website or visit their social media.

Photo at top: Blowing snow and winds made for low visibility in Nome. (Miranda Musich/ KNOM)

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