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Kodiak in for hurricane-force winds Thursday night, near-blizzard conditions in some villages

Rain on window. Photo by Jerry Raia / Flickr
Rain on window. Photo by Jerry Raia / Flickr

Kodiak is in for hurricane-force winds, and forecasters say some villages could see near-blizzard conditions Thursday evening and Friday morning. The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning for all parts of Kodiak Island, effective 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. Friday morning.

According to Shaun Baines, an Anchorage-based meteorologist with the National Weather Service federal forecasters are confident in their prediction for windy weather. Baines says a low pressure system in the Bristol Bay area is already generating hurricane-force winds along the Alaska Peninsula.

“And the core of strong winds on the south side of this low is just going to move across the Alaska Peninsula to Kodiak Island this evening, as the low moves into the Northwest Gulf, sort of near the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula. And so we’ve got arctic air with that as well. So cold air coming across the Alaska Peninsula and right for Kodiak Island. And just that strong low level jet, as we call it, the strongest core of winds, comes right across Kodiak Island,” Baines said.

Baines says forecasters aren’t predicting snowfall in the City of Kodiak, but he says the winds will blast over the whole island.

“And then the peak the strongest winds will be roughly between 10pm and 2am, especially in the Kodiak City area. And we’re looking for gusts of 65 to 80 miles per hour pretty much across all of Kodiak Island. And then secondary to that there will be some lingering snow mainly along the western to south end of Kodiak Island. So communities such as Karluk, Larsen Bay, Akhiok, could see some very brief periods of blowing snow and maybe even near blizzard conditions this evening as that wind arrives,” Baines said.

A blowing snow warning is in effect in the city — even with no snowfall, such high winds will pick up existing snow on the ground and carry it into the air. The weather service urges locals to secure loose objects that could be blown around or damaged by the wind, and to prepare for possible widespread power outages.

Some business closures may be announced throughout the day. The Coast Guard Exchange on Base Kodiak will be closing early at 4 p.m. due to the high wind warning.