Alaskans are awaiting the landfall of a storm that may end larger than any on record in the area. Imagine a blizzard with near hurricane-force winds. The storm is tracking for a direct strike on Nome. "Alaska west coast to be hit by one of the most severe Bering Sea storms on record," the National Weather Service wrote in a special message. "A powerful and extremely dangerous storm of near record or record magnitude is bearing down on the west coast of Alaska."
The message concluded with a remarkably ominous tone. "This will be an extremely dangerous and life-threatening storm of an epic magnitude rarely experienced. All people in the area should take precautions to safeguard their lives and property." The storm looks so bad that the National Weather Service had to reach back to a storm that hit in November of 1974.
If you're not an avid arctic-storm watcher, it's hard to know where to turn for information about the storm's progress. Here's a quick guide to keeping up with the situation.
- The National Weather Service is obviously indispensable, but their site is difficult to navigate. This is the main page that you want to keep an eye on.
- The Department of Homeland Security also puts out a situation report on Alaska each day, which you can read here.
- Local and national news organizations are tracking the storm. Try the Fairbanks @newsminer, the Fairbanks paper, which has been keeping up a steady stream of tweets. The Alaska Dispatch is another excellent local news outlet. KTUU is a good Anchorage television station to keep an eye on. And of course, the Anchorage Daily News is a standby.
- Newsminer also provides an excellent list of webcams through which you can watch the storm make landfall.
- The Twitter hashtag appears to be #AKstorm, though I've seen several variations. If you'd like a more curated feed of tweets, the Weather Channel put together a list of 13 people and news outlets to watch.
- FEMA is watching the situation, too.