Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Hurricane Force Winds

So Alaska does not get hurricanes but there is a very powerful and unusual storm headed my way. The storm has high pressure surrounding us to the east and to the west and smack dab in the middle is extreme low pressure (below 950 millibars) which is comparable with category 3 hurricane force winds including the 1927 Nova Scotia hurricane.

The storm is beginning outside my window as there is lots of snow and the winds are starting to pick up. Click --> HERE <-- to see our local weather man talk about this brewing storm.

On the plus side the storm is bringing warmer air what has been dubbed "Chinook Winds" also known as "pineapple express" winds for it is a weather pattern of warm air and wind that come up from Hawaii and hits the coast of Alaska. These winds can come through for a few hours or a few days. The winds have caused temperature swings from -52 to +48 degrees and back again in a very short period of time.

 These very warm winds carry a lot of moisture with them so we get rain on top of the snow. It often times will then freeze at night making driving, umm...interesting.

Water vapor imagery from NOAA
On satellite imagery, this is mega storm. Clouds extend from Ketchikan to the Pribilofs. Winds to 75 mph reported and increasing still. Blizzards in Bristol Bay, AK Peninsula, Homer, Portage, Turnagain Arm. Heavy rain and snow closing in along the Turnagin Arm (that includes me).

According to the meteorologist this "also happens to be a very handsome, symmetrical cyclone." I don't know about handsome but we'll see what the next few hours bring.

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