Winter in Unalaska by Sam Zmolek
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Typhoon Merbok

  • A mid-September storm caused major damage in parts of Western Alaska. In Unalaska though, it brought strangely warm temperatures and a warning sign about future storm activity in the region. Wreckage from the historic storm spans about 1,000 miles of coastline from the Lower Kuskokwim area, up north to the Norton Sound region. Flooding and strong winds caused power outages, road and home damage and destroyed subsistence harvests and the means to replace those. While Unalaska was preparing for similar conditions and possible devastation, locals got lucky as the storm passed further west, near Shemya Island. Rick Thoman, a climate specialist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, said the high seas and strong winds were the remnants of Typhoon Merbok. And while they missed the Eastern Aleutians, they did push subtropical air into the region.