Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Big Storm Is Not Unusual

Photo: Alissa Pasinski
by Robert L. Gisel

 The AP is running a news feed that the monster storm in Alaska is unusual. This is dubious. Not at wind gusts up to 80 knots. Where I come from it is called Taku winds, and it happens pretty much every year in Juneau. It could be that the news reports are overblown.

 This one is "different", it is said. The forecast 7 foot higher water apparently hasn't occurred recently, but it is still 1/2 the 1974 storm, which was less than the record storm in 1913. Also, it comes earlier in the year before the ice has formed that would normally shelter the shore. It is likely to be an exceptionally high tide on some low land beach front not protected this time by the harbor ice.

 "The last time forecasters saw something similar was in November 1974, when Nome also took the brunt of the storm. That surge measured more than 13 feet (4 meters), pushing beach driftwood above the level of the previous storm of its type in 1913."

 So things are moved up to the second story, the picture windows of the beach front Polar Cafe in Nome are boarded up, the people will live through a bit of storm, Alaskans are still Alaskans. The reporters who are in a whoo-haw about this should stay out of Alaska and forget any on-location reporting. The residents don't want to have to save the rear end of some Chechaquo who can't take a little weather.


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