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Massive rare blizzicane strikes Alaska
November 9, 2011 11:49 AM   Subscribe

A massive rare 'superstorm' is currently bearing down on Alaska, with hurricane force winds (100+mph gusts), blizzard, sea-surge flooding. "This is going to be one of the worst storms on record over the Bering Sea". The storm passed through an area of unusually high sea surface temperatures. "This may help explain why the storm is turning from an ordinary Bering Sea disturbance into a ‘superstorm’."

You can follow details of this storm via The Weather Channel, The National Weather Service Alaska Region, The Weather Service's Facebook page, Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang, Alaska media outlets such as the Anchorage Daily News and KTUU.
posted by stbalbach (69 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
I can't wait to watch this on "the deadliest catch" in about a year.
posted by gonna get a dog at 11:54 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


From reading the comments on this article about the storm from Weather.com, I learned never to read comments on the internet.
posted by Seamus at 11:58 AM on November 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yeah, why does weather.com need comments? Who comments on a weather.com story?

StormSurge89: Yep, that's a big storm!

iLUVstormz: AWESOME! MORE OF THESE!
posted by glaucon at 12:00 PM on November 9, 2011 [25 favorites]


From reading the comments on this article about the storm from Weather.com, I learned never to read comments on the internet.

They're very biblical.
posted by Artw at 12:01 PM on November 9, 2011


OT, slightly, but FYI, the NWS forecast discussions are usually good reads.

You can get them for for your neck of the woods. They're updated several times per day.

Here's the latest forecast discussion for Northern Alaska.
posted by notyou at 12:01 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


> Yeah, why does weather.com need comments?

It encourages regular page viewers.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:01 PM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


mild_and_lightly_overcast: in my day we appreciated subtle weather
posted by idiopath at 12:02 PM on November 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


This is the impact of climate change.
posted by zia at 12:02 PM on November 9, 2011


And just so we're clear: NWS forecast discussion is not a weather.com comment thread.
posted by notyou at 12:02 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


OMG, Normally I heed my "don't read the comments rule," but seriously, don't read the comments.
posted by drezdn at 12:03 PM on November 9, 2011


Cliff Mass Weather Blog on the situation.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 12:03 PM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


NOW I HAVE TO READ THE COMMENTS.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:06 PM on November 9, 2011 [9 favorites]


These comments are God's judgement upon the world.
posted by Artw at 12:07 PM on November 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


but seriously, don't read the comments.

I'd love to know how fast the average weather thread devolves into Rule 34 territory.

On second thought... no, actually, I'd rather not.
posted by quin at 12:08 PM on November 9, 2011


Isn't 2012 right around the corner? How has that not yet come up in the comments?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:09 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's into the Force 12 hurricane range on the Beaufort Wind Scale, which warns of structural damage with winds as low as Force 9 and notes Force 10 winds are of such force they are "seldom experienced on land. (Expect) trees broken or uprooted, considerable structural damage"

ROWR.

That's hot. I'd, uh... get hit by that?

Nope. Not working for me.
posted by quin at 12:11 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


On a serious note - anyone know if any Mefites are in danger?....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:11 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


The movie bombed, and we all moved on.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:11 PM on November 9, 2011


I'd love to know how fast the average weather thread devolves into Rule 34 territory.

Well, while not exactly the same, one of the map images on the page has a link that says, "Enlarge and Animate" and my immediate first thought was, "I need some boxers that say that on the front."
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 12:12 PM on November 9, 2011 [14 favorites]


My comment was Re: 2012
posted by filthy light thief at 12:12 PM on November 9, 2011


...i don't see any comments on the article

IS THAT THE JOKE GUYS

IS IT
posted by elizardbits at 12:12 PM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


> I'd love to know how fast the average weather thread devolves into Rule 34 territory.

Did you see how well formed that hurricane eye was? Ooh, boy!
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:12 PM on November 9, 2011


I HAD TO READ THE COMMENTS

Depressing: God is speaking and warning us to get ourselves right with Him!
More Depressing: above poster is a top commenter
Most Depressing: above poster is a Correctional Officer at IDOC Statevile [sic] Correctional Center
posted by lydhre at 12:13 PM on November 9, 2011 [9 favorites]


I can't wait to watch this on "the deadliest catch" in about a year.

Not even that long. The current fishing season should be on the upcoming season of "Deadliest Catch", which typically runs in April and May.
posted by briank at 12:15 PM on November 9, 2011


Accuweather.com (possibly one of the only low-media-presence places in State College, PA, today) also has a story posted with some video.

Many thanks to stbalbach for posting this.
posted by anaphoric at 12:16 PM on November 9, 2011


Also, it should be "a rare superstorm is currently Bering down on Alaska". Ahem.
posted by lydhre at 12:16 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Seraphim Hanisch · Technical Roaming Coordinator at Viaero Wireless
St Paul reports of a major storm happening in the Med - called Euroclydon if I am not mistaken. It's recounted in the book of Acts. The fact that the storm is named indicates that it was a known fact of life for the people in that region. More likely than not, this is a seasonal storm that happens pretty regularly this time of year. And as I wrote elsewhere, the somewhat cooler planet these days, and the action of cooling taking place, both regionally because it is fall, and globally because the planet has been cooling for a few years now, creates violent weather. I'm just saying...


WHAT IS THIS I DON'T EVEN
posted by Threeway Handshake at 12:17 PM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


See'N'Say:

The superstorm says, "GET RIGHT WITH GOD! TIME TO CLEANSE THE NEIGHBORHOOD!"
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:17 PM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


On a serious note - anyone know if any Mefites are in danger?....

rhapsodie, aka @Valette, is in Anchorage, out of the way. I don't know of any other Alaskan mefites, though I'm sure they exist.
posted by desjardins at 12:18 PM on November 9, 2011


anyone know if any Mefites are in danger?....

And if they are, who's available to swoop in and help?
posted by Floydd at 12:21 PM on November 9, 2011


More seriously, may this pass by without taking any lives and cause minimal inconvenience to those in its path.
posted by lydhre at 12:22 PM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


...i don't see any comments on the article

Looks like they use the facebook social plugin, that's why I couldn't see 'em anyway.
posted by Lorin at 12:22 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does this qualify as a "ruinstorm"?
posted by Hactar at 12:23 PM on November 9, 2011


Looks like they use the facebook social plugin, that's why I couldn't see 'em anyway.

Oh, that explains why I can't see any comments. I was just about to ask. Apparently it's just as well.
posted by pemberkins at 12:25 PM on November 9, 2011


Looks like they use the facebook social plugin

AHA yes, i have blocked all appearances of the great satan.
posted by elizardbits at 12:26 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Apparently it's just as well.

Indeed. And I thought accidentally clicking through to gawker.com would be the stupidest thing I saw all day.
posted by Lorin at 12:27 PM on November 9, 2011


That weather.com comments thread is hilarious. "Read the Bible and you will learn that God does not suck"
posted by burnmp3s at 12:30 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd love to know how fast the average weather thread devolves into Rule 34 territory.

Weather gone rule 34 (very barely NSFW)
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:30 PM on November 9, 2011


The comments are ridiculous, but the twitter feed toward the top is pretty good... some people who are actually there reporting on what's happening.
posted by Huck500 at 12:34 PM on November 9, 2011


Blizzicane. That's one I haven't heard before.

Wonder if that will mean an early snow here in Seattle?
posted by loquacious at 12:35 PM on November 9, 2011


> Weather gone rule 34 (very barely NSFW)

Pedantic point: that ain't Rule 34, it's just a jokey coincidence. Rule 34 is something wanking to pictures of hurricanes while pretending they are orifices.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:44 PM on November 9, 2011


Oh men your burning coals killed the world tree. Fenrir the wolf is free and will devour you in darkness and storm. Make sacrifices to Víðarr and pray his boot brings us victory over this devil. You who abandoned Odin for the Nazarean carpenter's stepson must repent. Ragnarök is here. It is as it was foretold in the sagas.
posted by humanfont at 12:45 PM on November 9, 2011 [51 favorites]


Oh men your burning coals killed the world tree. Fenrir the wolf is free and will devour you in darkness and storm. Make sacrifices to Víðarr and pray his boot brings us victory over this devil. You who abandoned Odin for the Nazarean carpenter's stepson must repent. Ragnarök is here. It is as it was foretold in the sagas.

Well...time to stock up on woolens and lutefisk. I wonder where my good axe got to?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:47 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


LOLXTIANS aside, Alaska is really vulnerable to this storm. Pressure on housing is intense in Alaska; workers are living in tents, mobile homes and mainland prefabs that are 50 years old year round. People in the bush may be unable to evacuate; they are already snowed in for the winter, boats are drydocked, snowmobiles won't get you far enough, and there are plentiful bush encampments with no roads at all. A superstorm has the potential to be devastating to property but more than that, to entire communities and to life. There are 700,000 people in Alaska and not all of them deserve our communal mirth.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:50 PM on November 9, 2011 [12 favorites]


Pedantic point: that ain't Rule 34, it's just a jokey coincidence. Rule 34 is something wanking to pictures of hurricanes while pretending they are orifices.

I got a thing for Shelby Scott, does that count?
posted by bondcliff at 12:50 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


My nephew is working on a ship that travels up and down the Pacific coast. I am hoping for an update from him but his ability to email/phone is limited while on ship. It's unsettling when you cannot get info in this era of instant communication...
posted by mightshould at 12:51 PM on November 9, 2011


> I got a thing for Shelby Scott, does that count?

Only if you only feel the tingle if she's talking about a storm or in front of a weather map.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:54 PM on November 9, 2011


MetaFilter: It encourages regular page viewers.
posted by me3dia at 1:01 PM on November 9, 2011


You who abandoned Odin for the Nazarean carpenter's stepson must repent.

MY PEOPLES: DO NOT LISTEN TO THIS FALSE PROPHET.

Here I am in my office in Stockholm's old city amongst those who abandoned Odin and Thor for the Nazarean's carpenter's stepson and then abandoned all of them for reason and science and it was a foggy day about 45F and altogether not unpleasant for November. The entire autumn has been unseasonably warm and dry and bloody damned delightful.

When Odin was king it was cold as balls here so repent ye not Svenskafolket.
posted by three blind mice at 1:02 PM on November 9, 2011 [10 favorites]


It is foretold!

The warriors taken off
by the glory of spears,
the weapons greedy for slaughter,
the famous fate,
and storms beat
these rocky cliffs,
falling frost
fetters the earth,
the harbinger of winter;
Then dark comes,
nightshadows deepen,
from the north there comes
a rough hailstorm
in malice against men.
All is troublesome
in this earthly kingdom,
the turn of events changes
the world under the heavens.
Here money is fleeting,
here friend is fleeting,
here man is fleeting,
here kinsman is fleeting,
all the foundation of this world
turns to waste!
posted by aramaic at 1:12 PM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Rule 34 is something wanking to pictures of hurricanes while pretending they are orifices.

But... that's the eye... Oh, wow.
posted by longsleeves at 1:24 PM on November 9, 2011


Here I am in my office in Stockholm's old city

What are you doing in a Stockholm office at 10 p.m., one wonders. Is it still summertime on the east coast?

That said, even after Odin and all that other stuff, we here in West Sweden usually have it wet (and not only around the balls), so yes, this fall has been exceptional so far as in: no rain, no slush, only two or three nights of frost. Let's just wait until the remnants of this Alaska thingy hit us, coming from the north.
posted by Namlit at 1:29 PM on November 9, 2011


Here's a report from my paper this morning, which has some other recent updates, and also has a list of potentially interesting webcams at the bottom (not that they're linked or anything).
posted by leahwrenn at 2:04 PM on November 9, 2011


Here's a photo from Google Earth of the runway in St George Island, the smaller of the two inhabited islands.
posted by stonepharisee at 2:07 PM on November 9, 2011


anyone know if any Mefites are in danger?....

Or in general how many lives are in danger? Weather in Alaska at baseline is kinda intimidating to me, and given it being November I don't know how easy it is to evacuate people from at risk locations, or rescue people isolated by the storm. I guess people are just battening down the hatches, dusting off canned goods, and waiting it out?
posted by midmarch snowman at 2:10 PM on November 9, 2011


Odin? Johhny come lately, I'll be spending my time getting right with the great old ones.
posted by The Whelk at 2:27 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: From Alaskan storm to the Kalevala in a snap!
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 2:37 PM on November 9, 2011


Right now surfers on the West coast of Van Island are looking at that and wondering "but what does this mean for long beach"?

The good news is that most of the people in the villages on the coast are very good at being self-sufficient. The bad news is that those villages aren't built to withstand hurricanes. I imagine a few roofs will be coming off in this.
posted by Salmonberry at 2:54 PM on November 9, 2011


Good to see that while major weather events affecting places where a lot of mefites live are EXTREMELY SERIOUS potentially deadly weather affecting other people is funny.
posted by joannemullen at 3:14 PM on November 9, 2011


Good comments on Jeff Master's weather blog.. Interesting discussion wrt climate change and intense storms:

As sea ice continues to decrease in coming years, leaving more ocean surface exposed to air, more moisture and heat will be available to power storms. As I discussed in detail in my post, The future of intense winters storms, multiple studies have documented a significant increase in the number of intense extratropical cyclones with central pressures below 970 or 980 mb over the North Pacific and Arctic in recent decades. Computer climate models predict predict a future with fewer total winter storms, but a greater number of intense storms; up to twelve additional intense Northern Hemisphere cold-season extratropical storms per year are expected by the end of the century if we continue to follow our current path of emissions of greenhouse gases. These stronger storms will bringer higher winds and higher storm surges to coastal areas of Alaska and the Arctic over the remainder of the 21st century, resulting in increased erosion and flooding of low-lying areas. Contributing to the erosion will be sea level rise. Kivalina, which lies on a narrow barrier island in the Chukchi Sea, has been losing up to 8 feet of shore each year due to erosion, and the long-term survival of the island is in serious doubt.
posted by bumpkin at 3:23 PM on November 9, 2011


Obama to expand drilling off Alaska, in Gulf; Republicans say it’s not enough

Ironic if Global Warming is a factor in this storm (AND IT IS)
Extra Ironic if the storm damages existing off-shore rigs, spilling much crude oil.


Good to see that while major weather events affecting places where a lot of mefites live are EXTREMELY SERIOUS potentially deadly weather affecting other people is funny.

Still less than the jokes about Hurricane Irene which affected places where many more mefites live. When the inevitable Big California Earthquake makes my coastal community fall into the sea while the Diablo Canyon Nuke Plant goes Fukushima, I WANT COMEDY RELIEF.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:34 PM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


May all of you in Alaska weather this storm safely. It looks pretty scary.
posted by caddis at 4:48 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Al Roker called it a "snowicane" this morning on whichever-network-morning-show-has-al-roker-on-it.
posted by LiteOpera at 5:20 PM on November 9, 2011


Good to see that while major weather events affecting places where a lot of mefites live are EXTREMELY SERIOUS potentially deadly weather affecting other people is funny.

I'd just as soon see a lot less OMG SNOWPOCALYPSE and a lot more of Teh Funny about weather in general, actually. The total freakout over and over about weather events in the northeast gets kind of silly.
posted by leahwrenn at 5:44 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know a few fishermen. My understanding is the king crab quota was particularly small this year, about seven million pounds total, so the season was short; most boats finished last week or the week before. Opilio season isn't for awhile, mid to late December, I think.

So at least there are fewer boats out there than there could have been.

I can't wait to watch this on "the deadliest catch" in about a year.
Yeah... no. I know you didn't mean it like this, but as fun as it is to watch crazy storms on TV, weather like this kills people.
posted by kprincehouse at 6:02 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Alaska is really vulnerable to this storm. Pressure on housing is intense in Alaska; workers are living in tents, mobile homes and mainland prefabs that are 50 years old year round. People in the bush may be unable to evacuate; they are already snowed in for the winter, boats are drydocked, snowmobiles won't get you far enough, and there are plentiful bush encampments with no roads at all. A superstorm has the potential to be devastating to property but more than that, to entire communities and to life. There are 700,000 people in Alaska and not all of them deserve our communal mirth

Umm- what?

Have you ever been to western Alaska? There are no "workers" in that area, I think you're thinking of North Dakota oil workers for that one, but I guarantee you no one is living in a tent in Teller right now. And no one gets "snowed in" for the winter, there are scheduled flights to all these places year round and ground transportation is easier once the ground freezes and snow machines can run. Only Nome has roads and they don't go anywhere anyway. The villages have evacuation plans that would put most places to shame, although the power going out is a serious problem where there's electric heat. Which is everywhere, madly.

There are maybe 5-6K people in the path of this storm all of whom are quite used to extreme weather. It wouldn't really be a huge issue except that people in W Ak tend to build houses 2 feet from the ocean and rely on sea ice to keep them safe from storms. This is an early seasons storm so there's no ice yet. Worst case scenario would be a storm surge hitting somewhere like Kivalina that is on a spit. Most places have schools built on tall pilings for that very reason though so people should be OK unless it's way worse than they're saying.
posted by fshgrl at 9:15 PM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


fshgrl you make it sound like this storm is not unusual and people are used to it. Alaska doesn't normally get storms like this. This storm is more powerful than "The Perfect Storm" that struck the North Atlantic years ago. Meteorologists have a technical term for storms like this: "bomb". Read the links and stuff. Sure, Alaska gets cold temps and snow, but not normally hurricane force winds that far north, it takes heat energy to create those kinds of winds and that normally doesn't happen.. unless there is hot ocean water, and where the hell did that come from.
posted by stbalbach at 11:05 PM on November 10, 2011


stbalbach, I think fshgrl was responding more to the projected amount of people who would be affected by the storm. It's an INTENSELY major storm, yeah; but it is an intensely major storm happening in a VERY sparsely-populated area, rather than a major urban center.

The people who DO live in the path of such a storm are in deep trouble, to be sure. fshgrl was just pointing out that, fortunately, there aren't as many of those people as we fear.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:15 AM on November 11, 2011


My nephew reported in. Waves are crashing over his ship at about 7 stories above sea level. Not a typical storm at all.
posted by mightshould at 8:10 AM on November 12, 2011


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