Huge swaths of Alaska’s western coastline are bracing for strong winds and flooding as a powerful storm threatens to be one of the worst in the state’s recent history.
“The strongest storm in over a decade is moving into the Bering Sea,” the National Weather Service said.
Moderate to heavy rainfall is expected in the region until Sunday morning as the remnants of Typhoon Merbok head northeastward through the Bering Strait, according to the National Weather Service. Wind gusts could reach hurricane strength in some areas, Weather Service forecasts say.
Significant coastal flooding is expected until Sunday morning with the highest water levels Saturday, likely leading to closed roads, inundated homes and businesses and shoreline erosion, the Weather Service said.
Sea levels are expected to be three to eight feet above normal high tide along the Bering Strait coast, according to the Weather Service. Nome, an Alaska city on the southern Seward Peninsula coast, will see water levels 8 to 11 feet above normal high tide, forecasters said.
‘HISTORIC-LEVEL STORM’:Alaska braces for floods, power outages
Peak levels may persist for 10 to 14 hours before the water recedes, according to the weather service in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Likely wind gusts of 50 to 75 mph may also topple trees, damage roofs and buildings, and lead to substantial power outages, according to AccuWeather. The storm will also create “life-threatening conditions” for fishing operations, AccuWeather said, warning small boats to remain in port.
‘One of the strongest storms to ever hit the state,’ forecasters say
The storm’s impacts may exceed the 2011 Bering Sea Superstorm, one of the most powerful cyclones to affect Alaska on record, the National Weather Service in Fairbanks said, adding that some parts of the state may experience their worst coastal flooding in almost 50 years.
AccuWeather called it “one of the strongest storms to ever hit the state of Alaska.”
Typhoon Merbok is expected to calm later in the weekend as it drifts across the Arctic Circle, AccuWeather said, adding that most of the storm’s impacts will be concentrated in western and northern Alaska.
Other parts of the state, including Fairbanks and Anchorage, may see some rain Sunday night to Monday, AccuWeather forecast.
TROPICAL STORM FIONA FORMS:Storm headed toward Puerto Rico
Tropical Storm Fiona to hit Puerto Rico
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Fiona is expected to dump up to 16 inches of rain on parts of Puerto Rico on Saturday, threatening severe flooding, landslides and power outages.
The storm is expected to become a hurricane as it nears Puerto Rico, just after battering the eastern Caribbean islands. One death was reported Saturday in Guadeloupe, a French territory in the southern Caribbean Sea.
Puerto Rican authorities have opened shelters and shuttered public beaches, theaters and museums, urging people to remain indoors.
Contributing: The Associated Press