Bering storm skips Unalaska, topples Atka playground

The storm that meteorologists warned could be bigger than 2014’s Typhoon Nuri turned out to be less severe than predicted. At least in Unalaska.

The Unalaska Dept. of Public Safety received no reports of damage from the weekend’s heavy weather, according to deputy police chief Mike Holman.

Meteorologist Luis Ingram at the National Weather Service office in Anchorage said Monday morning that Nuri took a different path than this weekend’s storm.

“This one came out of the north Pacific, migrated into the Bering Sea along the western chain of the Aleutians and then proceeded to move more north. I believe Nuri’s path took it a little more easterly than northerly.”

Ingram said a buoy positioned in the far western Aleutians recorded a low pressure of 929 millibars, a measurement of atmospheric pressure. At its height, Nuri dropped to a central low pressure of 924 millibars.

He said its unpredictable how any particular storm will evolve. Although the storm was predicted to hit the Aleutian Islands hard, it all depends on which path a storm takes through the 1200-mile long Aleutian chain.

“That kind of accounts for why Dutch Harbor saw strong winds, but not as severe as Adak, just because of the way the track of the storm went. It went farther north and west of Dutch Harbor.”

Islands farther west than Unalaska were hit harder. On Adak Island, a wind gust was clocked at 122 mph Sunday.

During the height of this weekend’s storm, when it was centered between Adak and Shemya Islands, a tracking buoy cataloged some impressive seas.

“We did measure high seas about 53 feet. That buoy, unfortunately, has since gone off-line, most likely due to the fact of the storm itself. So, you know, what data we have out there is a little sparse right now just because not all the buoys are back up and running.”

Photo: NOAA
Photo: NOAA

When reached by phone this morning, Adak’s city manager said he was too busy dealing with the storm’s aftermath to talk right then.

Crystal Dushkin, a cultural administrator for the Atka Tribe, said in a Facebook post that the storm did cause quite a bit of damage on Atka Island.

Dushkin writes the island’s playground was toppled over, TV dishes were careened off their mounting and the fence surrounding the GCI building was blown over.

The Coast Guard stations in Dutch Harbor, Anchorage and Juneau all reported no search-and-rescue calls came in over the weekend, and no damage to any facilities. The Coast Guard command center in Anchorage said this morning they got reports of 57-foot seas when the storm approached and 37-foot seas as it diminished.

In the Pribilof Islands  — 200 miles north of Unalaska, staff at the Public Safety Department and the harbor office said they had no reports of any storm-related damage on land or sea.