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High wind warnings for Anchorage

Posted: October 7, 2013 - 8:44pm

ANCHORAGE — The Anchorage area was in the path of a strong wind storm, but weather forecasters said Monday the winds are not expected to be as severe as those in a fall storm last year that toppled thousands of trees and caused widespread power outages.

The storm expected to hit early Tuesday should bring winds gusting up to 90 mph in higher elevations and gusts up to 50 mph in lower parts of the city, according to the National Weather Service. The storm also is expected to bring up to half an inch of rain, weather service meteorologist Eddie Zingone said.

The storm won’t be anywhere close to last year’s fall storm and it won’t last as long, either, Zingone said. A high wind warning for the storm was set to end at noon Tuesday. There were no aviation warnings immediately in place, but Zingone said there were concerns about significant turbulence from the coming storm.

Trees still have many leaves on them, so that could prevent winds from passing through bare branches, although most of the leaves are yellow and should blow off with the winds. The coming storm follows a long bout of heavy rains, including showers that fell Sunday, so the ground is soft and saturated, Zingone said.

“It really increases the risk of uprooting trees,” he said.

Sustained winds are expected to range from 15 to 30 mph in lower areas and up to 65 mph in higher elevations and along Turnagain Arm.

The worst of the storm is expected to occur between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. Tuesday, affecting morning commutes to jobs and schools.

Anchorage officials urged residents to secure loose objects to prevent them from blowing around and getting damaged.

The September 2012 storm brought hurricane-force winds in some areas around Anchorage, while winds in lower elevations were clocked at 40 to 60 mph. Trees broke and fell all over the city, landing on power lines, cars, yards and homes. Power outages affected thousands in Anchorage and other parts of south-central Alaska.

To avoid the high winds during that storm, some passenger jets were diverted to Fairbanks from Anchorage.

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