Gulf of Alaska storm

By: Levi32 , 4:11 PM GMT on November 12, 2007

This morning's NWS discussion:

".LONG TERM FORECAST...
ON THURSDAY A LOW IN THE SUB TROPICAL JET WILL REACH THE COLD AIR
ASSOCIATED WITH THE LARGE BERING/NORTHWEST GULF LOW AND EXPERIENCE
EXPLOSIVE CYCLOGENESIS. THIS LOW WAS A TROPICAL DEPRESSION SOUTH OF
JAPAN YESTERDAY AND THUS THE "BOMB" SCENARIO LOOKS REASONABLE.
NUMERICAL MODELS ARE STILL FIGURING THIS LOW OUT...BUT LOOK TO BE
TRENDING TOWARD A POSITION IN THE EASTERN GULF WHEN IT IS AT ITS
DEEPEST THURSDAY NIGHT. THE LOW WILL THEN MOVE NORTHWESTWARD TOWARD
SOUTH CENTRAL ALASKA BY THE END OF THE WEEK. WORTH WATCHING THIS
STORM AS HURRICANE FORCE WINDS ARE POSSIBLE WITH IT.

.AER/ALU...WATCH/WARNING SUMMARY
PUBLIC...NONE.
MARINE...GALE WARNING 120 150 155 160 165 170 172 175 179 185.
FIRE WEATHER...NONE.

LUDWIG NOV 07"

Models are still on tap for a major low entering the Gulf of Alaska in 3-5 days. Tropical Storm Tapah and associated subtropical air will collide with a mass of Siberian arctic air, causing very explosive cyclogenesis and the "bomb" scenario. In Alaska the "bomb" is not any less of a bad thing as it is in the lower 48, despite the fact that people believe we should be "used" to them. Like the recent European storm, this will be a very bad situation for ships in the area, and what you might call a storm surge will be battering the coast for miles, although the threat of coastal flooding is minimal in this part of Alaska.

The track of this storm will be crucial to snow amounts in certain areas. Everyone is going to get the wind as the size of this thing will be huge. The GFS has been trending further east and south with this over the last couple runs, and the NWS as usual is following suit with their forecast. The NOGAPS and UKMET are the northerly models right now, which still take the low up east of Kodiak Island, meaning more snow for southcentral. All these solutions I expect to swing around a bit over the next few runs, as this is a very delicate situation that could unfold a number of different ways. The GFS seems to want to shove most of the energy eastward and out of the picture, while other models allow the low currently in the Bering Sea to pull the energy north, as in the figure below:



In the above image, the low is in the process of deepening and is still quite far south. The trough extension to the north of the low is what used to be the Bering low, which came east near Kodiak Island. This extension north is what could draw the energy closer to the coast, as some of the models are suggesting. Also evident in the image is the huge convergence boundary between warm and cold air setting up in the gulf. Lots of overrunning snow can be expected under that strong warm front. Bottom line this will be a very strong and dangerous storm and it's winds will be felt everywhere. Where the snow falls is entirely dependent on track, which is still to be determined.

The Bering Sea low that I mentioned above is currently strengthening and moving towards the SW coast today. This is going to provide us with several inches of snow in the 2 days prior to the big cheese. Snow lovers are really happy this week :)

We shall see what happens!



This image shows how TD 22w(now TS Tapah) and other ingredients are starting to come together to set up explosive development in 3 days. (Satellite image credit: Japan Meteorological Agency)



GFS phase diagram for the gulf storm. The intensity and size are notable, along with what appears to be a warm-seclusion scenario at peak intensity.

Current Satellite:


^Click for Loop^

Surface Map:


The 986mb wave on the cold front of 976mb low in the above map is the disturbance moving east that will bring us some snow over the next couple days, and will also play a part in the gulf storm's track. The 988mb low on the western edge of the image is the low currently absorbing TS Tapah east of Japan.


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

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14. mrtexas
8:18 AM GMT on November 13, 2007
Levi, Paul from Kasilof here. Didnt know you blogged this much im gonna keep reading. Nice to see a young guy into weather so much, think we will get any north of clam gulch, its always south!
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13. Levi32
6:31 AM GMT on November 13, 2007
Hawks win!!! WOOO! 5th Monday night shutout =)) Still on top.

Bring on the snow!!! I'm ready!
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12. HeavySnow
2:17 AM GMT on November 13, 2007
Oh you lucky lucky guy you. Nice description. SNOW SNOW SNOW SNOW
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11. Barefootontherocks
1:21 AM GMT on November 13, 2007
HI Levi, Thanks for stopping by my blog. Are you ready for some FOOTBALL? They're playing without Alexander tonight. Have a great evening!

GO SEAHAWKS!
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10. Tazmanian
7:53 PM GMT on November 12, 2007
is this 921mb going to come to ca???
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9. Levi32
7:49 PM GMT on November 12, 2007
Leaving for the afternoon. I'll try to update tonight.

This first little system in the Bering is looking nasty for tonight/tomorrow. We could have two pretty decent snowstorms back to back if this first one gets its act together.

Later
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8. Levi32
6:54 PM GMT on November 12, 2007
Hey tornado, thanks! I know the feeling, I always wish I could be in the big weather events down there too. It's too bad winter is the only exciting season here lol. Have a great day =)
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7. tornadofan
6:46 PM GMT on November 12, 2007
Hi Levi - I have enjoyed your blog the past couple of days. Although I hate cold, your description of the storm makes me wish to be up there just to experience it (on land of course). Stay safe, but enjoy the storm!
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6. Levi32
6:32 PM GMT on November 12, 2007
Snow moving into the King Salmon area as well. It's about 8 hours from my area.

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5. Levi32
5:58 PM GMT on November 12, 2007
12z NAM run is out. It only goes to 72 hours but has the low at 954mb and 80 knot winds around the center. Precipitation shield is already reaching to the coast at this point according to the model.
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4. Spetrm
5:24 PM GMT on November 12, 2007
I like this update. Gives me an idea about all these maritime lows coming out of the aluetians. Good stuff. Definatly not a good time to go sailing up there though.
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3. Levi32
5:13 PM GMT on November 12, 2007
Thanks Bob. So you're leaving WU now? Sad to see you leave :( I'll really miss you and your insite. Please visit often!! You're great to have around as always =) Good luck with that new weather endeavor.
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2. weatherguy03
5:06 PM GMT on November 12, 2007
Good analysis Levi. Nice to see you around. Have fun in the snow!!
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1. Levi32
4:51 PM GMT on November 12, 2007
Heavy snow showers coming ashore on the west coast ahead of the low in the Bering Sea.

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About Levi32

Masters student in tropical meteorology at FSU. Raised in Alaskan blizzards, but drawn toward tropical cyclones by their superior PGF.

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