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Warm, blustery storm brought 70+ mph gusts to Anchorage area

  • Author: Zaz Hollander
  • Updated: November 21, 2019
  • Published November 21, 2019

A wind warning is in effect for Turnagain Arm and higher elevations in Anchorage as another storm system bears down on Southcentral Alaska amid unusually high temperatures.

The National Weather Service issued the warning Thursday morning for southeast winds of 25 to 45 mph and gusts up to 75 mph from noon until 9 p.m. The strongest winds are expected above 2,000 feet, though easterly winds gusting as high as 50 mph are likely this afternoon along the Hillside, as well as other areas near the mountains including parts of East Anchorage, the Glenn Highway and Eagle River.

By mid-afternoon Thursday, wind gusts south of Rabbit Creek reached 77 mph. Gusts reached 74 mph in Eagle River’s Arctic Valley, said NWS meteorologist Michelle McAuley.

Forecasters urged residents to secure loose objects and be prepared for possible power outages.

As of late Thursday afternoon, no significant power outages had been reported across Anchorage, according to Chugach Electric Association spokeswoman Julie Hasquet and Municipal Light & Power spokeswoman Julie Harris.

The same storm system was also expected to bring freezing rain and 1 to 3 inches of snow to the Susitna Valley areas north and west of Talkeetna and heavy snow for Thompson Pass on Thursday night, forecasters said.

The blustery weather is caused by a pattern that’s being repeated over Southcentral Alaska this month: Low-pressure areas stalled over Bristol Bay and the eastern Bering Sea set up a river of warmer air flowing up from the south.

“We’ve been stuck with these systems,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Michael Kutz. Sunday’s 45-degree temperature reading at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport tied the record high for the day set in 1967. Wednesday’s high was 49, weirdly warm but not high enough to break the record that same year of 53.

Kutz said he’s not seeing any major changes in weather patterns in the immediate future.

“There are four different systems going back across the North Pacific,” he said.