Powerful Alaska storm to rival strongest on record

Northwest Regional Weather Forecast
Northwest Regional Weather Forecast

By RENEE DUFF for Accuweather

A potent storm that will cross the Aleutian Islands of Alaska this weekend could become the strongest recorded storm to impact the region.

This storm comes a little over a year after ex-Super Typhoon Nuri became the most powerful system on record to cross Dutch Harbor, Alaska, which is located in the Aleutian Islands, with a central low pressure of 924 millibars (27.29 inches of Hg).

The intensity of a storm is measured by the central pressure, with lower pressure equating to a stronger system.

Previous to Nuri, the old record stood at 925 millibars (27.32 inches of Hg) at Dutch Harbor, Alaska, from a strong storm that hit on Oct. 25, 1977.

To put this in perspective, Hurricane Katrina made landfall at 920 millibars (27.17 inches of Hg).

A storm is forecast to race to the northeast and reach the western Aleutian Islands by Saturday evening, rapidly intensifying in the process.

By the time it reaches the Aleutian Islands, the storm's pressure could dip below 930 millibars (27.46 inches of Hg).

Further strengthening is forecast to occur once the storm enters the Bering Sea, potentially rivaling the intensity reached by ex-Super Typhoon Nuri in November of 2014.

The Aleutian Islands and west coast of Alaska will experience impacts regardless of whether the storm reaches near-record strength.

AccuWeather Winter Weather Center
Alaska Interactive Radar
Western Storm to Unleash Additional Round of Rain, Mountain Snow

Hurricane-force winds, which are sustained winds or gusts of 74 mph or greater, will howl across the western Aleutian Islands late Saturday night through Sunday. Gusts of 30-50 mph can be expected across the western Alaska coast Sunday through Monday.

Large waves upwards of 40 feet should be anticipated, making it hazardous to navigate the waters of the Bering Sea.

Waves are not expected to be nearly as high along the west coast of Alaska, but they could be high enough to cause coastal flooding and erosion. Accumulating snow is also likely across this area.

Wind and waves will lessen early next week as the storm weakens off the coast of eastern Russia.

Click through to see how winter weather is shaping up in the U.S.:

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