What could become the largest storm ever measured in northern waters has prompted the U.S, Coast Guard to deploy helicopters and a cutter nearer the Bering Sea.
Tropical Storm – once Typhoon – Nuri is barreling down on the Aleutian Islands on its way to the Bering Sea. Effects could be felt in Gulf of Alaska waters as well, where a storm and gale warnings are in effect.
Storm Warnings cover much of the Aleutians, with a Hurricane Warning in effect over Shemya and Attu in the far western Aleutians.
Captain Joseph Deer, chief of incident command for the Coast Guard's 17th District, says he is encouraging all mariners to take appropriate safety precautions, such as finding a safe harbor or take shelter on the leeward side of an island.
Storm estimates by the National Weather Service are predicting winds in the Aleutians and Bering Sea of over 100 mph with seas 50-feet or more. Over the weekend, Nuri was a Category 5 typhoon with sustained winds of 180 mph.
In preparation for the storm, the Coast Guard has forward deployed an Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and crew to a forward operating location in Cold Bay and notified the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Munro, currently patrolling near Dutch Harbor,, to stand by to assist mariners.
The National Weather Service says that when the storm runs into the cold air and higher pressure in the Bering Sea, the center of the storm could see record-breaking low pressure. The current lowest pressure in that region was recorded in 1977 in Dutch Harbor at 925 millibars. The all-time record for low pressure in northern waters was set in 1993 in the North Atlantic, with a measurement of 913 millibars.
The Weather Service says the storm is expected to hit Friday afternoon and persist through Saturday.
Unless it tracks further east than the Weather Service is predicting, the storm is not expected to have major impacts on Kodiak Island or the Gulf Alaska.