Wild Weather off Alaska

January 18th, 2013 by Mike Carlowicz
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The weather seems to be getting weirder by the month. Perhaps we are more attuned to it now, in our hyper-connected, 24-hour-news-cycle world where the news from faraway places is almost as accessible as the news form our hometown. But the research and the models say that weather extremes should grow more extreme, and the observations seem to be living up to the predictions.

The latest case in point comes from the North Pacific and Alaska. This week, a huge storm system with hurricane-force winds lashed the Aleutian Islands in an unusual winter storm. See the video of the cyclone coming over the horizon, as viewed by a GOES satellite.

According to the Alaska Dispatch, winds at Shemya (site of a former U.S. Air Force base) reached 70 miles per hour and the U.S. Coast Guard was mobilizing to “safeguard the crab fleet and other fishing vessels in the area.” According to Climate Central, the storm generated open ocean waves approaching 62 feet and “had an air pressure reading of about 932 mb, roughly equivalent to a Category 4 hurricane, and more intense than Hurricane Sandy as that storm moved toward the New Jersey coastline in October.”

The storm was weakening as it moved northeast and was not expected to have a serious impact on the mainland of Alaska.

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