Intense storm headed to Aleutian Islands

(File)
(File)
Shutterstock [http://www.shutterstock.com]

Anchorage - An explosive storm surpassing the intensity of 2012's Superstorm Sandy is expected to reach Alaska's western Aleutian Islands over the weekend and bring unseasonably frigid temperatures to much of the US next week, weather forecasters say.

What remains of Typhoon Nuri is moving northeast from off the Japanese coast and is mixing with cold air and the jet stream, which will give it the power to produce hurricane-force winds and waves of up to 15m. It could arrive late on Friday or Saturday before weakening in the Bering Sea, the National Weather Service said.

The storm potentially could be one of the most intensive to ever hit the North Pacific, weather service forecaster Brian Hurley said.

The US Coast Guard and Alaska state emergency responders were keeping a close eye on its strength.

The system is expected to push cold air into much of the lower 48 states next week, forecaster Bob Oravec said.

Snow also is coming to areas including the northern Rockies and northern Plains.

While Sandy caused destruction along the East Coast, Nuri's target in the north is a sparsely populated region with a few small communities that are accustomed to severe weather.

The storm's path includes a busy maritime route for cargo ships travelling to or from Asia, as well as the red king crab fishery made famous by the Discovery Channel reality show Deadliest Catch.

Vessels are finding protected harbours or moving away from the path, according to Brett Farrell with the Marine Exchange of Alaska, a nonprofit maritime organisation. No one in their right mind would stick around that area, he said.

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