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Strong winds expected to blow through Bristol Bay this weekend


The area from Pilot Point up towards Naknek could experience southwest winds sustained as high as 30 - 40 mph with higher gusts, according to climate specialist Rick Thoman. 


The first fall storms headed to Bristol Bay will bring strong gusts and sustained winds of up to 40 mph.

The first round of rain and wind is expected to start tonight and continue through Saturday. The weather front is centered in the central Aleutians as of Friday morning, and is expected to cross Bristol Bay Saturday.

“The bigger, stronger storm moves in from the north-central pacific Saturday night and Sunday," said Rick Thoman, a climate specialist with the University of Alaska Fairbanks. "This looks to be the feature that’s really going to pound the Bristol Bay region. Very strong low pressure for this time of year. It would be a strong low pressure if this was December, but for this early in the fall, this is really quite a strong feature.”

Thoman said that the second system is moving quite quickly. The region will feel the full brunt of the storm Sunday afternoon through Monday morning, as the low-pressure system passes through and moves inland. The system will blow strong southwest winds across the region.

“Particularly from the area, say, Pilot Point up towards Naknek, look for southwest winds possibly sustained as high as 30 - 40 mph with higher gusts. That’s going to push a lot of water up into upper Bristol Bay,” Thoman said.

The storm is expected to move through quite quickly; the strong winds and high water will likely last for around 12 hours. Thoman says the west-southwest winds are expected to continue into early next week. And while Saturday's front might be normal for the region, Sunday will likely be rough. 

According to Thoman, there has been talk in the weather community about whether this weekend’s storm is part of a typhoon that hit the Korean peninsula a couple days ago, though this is not a typical example of a typhoon transitioning to a North Pacific storm.

“We have a very rapidly deepening storm that’s going to impact the region both with more rain and especially winds in Bristol Bay Sunday afternoon and into Monday morning,” he said.

Thoman recommends that residents remain cautious throughout the weekend. People who have boats in the water should also check their lines ahead of the windy weather. 

Contact the author at isabelle@kdlg.org or 907-842-2200.