Zombie Tropical Storms Hit Alaska

March 12, 2019
Tropical Storms hit Alaska

At the same time that South Carolina was awash with flooding because of a passing hurricane, another state was actually hit by the stormy remnants of a different hurricane. It was—wait for it—Alaska!

Hurricane Oho was originally threatening Hawaii, our most tropical state. Then—whoops—it turned north and slammed Canada and the panhandle of Alaska. British Columbia and the southern Panhandle of Alaska were hit with high winds, (up to 68 mph or tropical storm strength), torrential rain and heavy seas.


Central Pacific Hurricane Oho takes an Alaskan cruise!


Moisture from the storm stretched from Oregon to Alaska! Source: NOAA

What is more remarkable is that this is the third hurricane remnant to hit Alaska this year. In September it was hit by the remnants or Hurricanes Kilo and Ignacio. Even more remarkably, Hurricane Kilo was so strong that it crossed the International Dateline, became a Typhoon and then brushed near Japan. Its remnants slammed into Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, sucked up Tropical Storm Etau and finally staggered over and punched Alaska!


Hurricane, then Typhoon Kilo had a long journey through the Pacific Source: Wikimedia

The reason that Alaska has had such an unpleasant taste of the tropics is the very strong El Niño. It has created a record breaking Pacific hurricane season. At the same time, the warmth from this Tropical Pacific water mass has leaked up along the West Coast so that the Northern Pacific Ocean is unusually hot. It has massive amounts of energy to feed tropical storms to keep them alive. The hurricanes die but their zombie remnants continue to haunt the Pacific.


On the other hand—if you are Alaskan, you don’t have to travel to visit the tropics. The stormy tropics sending their zombie storms to visit you. Happy Halloween!

About This Blog

The column, “Weather Whispers,” is authored by James Garriss and Evelyn Browning Garriss, historical climatologists and weather addicts!  Whether you enjoy the science of weather or the fascinating folklore or just fun weather phenomena, it’s probably covered by these weather watchers!


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