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First fall days bring gale-force winds

Courtesy of the National Weather Service

It’s becoming harder these days to stay in denial about the turning of the seasons.

This past weekend was Kenai’s first real blustery storm of the fall, and another onslaught of rain and wind is expected to hit as soon as tomorrow. Those winds won’t be quite as strong as the winds that hit Sunday, said Adam Przepiora, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Anchorage.

“So we’re only going to see winds, as opposed to last weekend when we saw 72-knot winds, with this system here, it’s probably going to be around 40 knots,” he said. “So in that area, it will be a gail-force. And there, might be some stronger winds a little bit farther to the west, closer to the low center, but overall it’s going to be a weaker system than the one last weekend.”

There will be two separate but back-to-back fronts hitting this week. The first will be Wednesday into Thursday, with the second late Thursday into Friday. The Thursday-Friday system will be the stronger of the two, Przepiora said.

This weather is reflected in the marine weather forecast for Cook Inlet. In the mid inlet, north of Kalgin Island, winds will climb to 40 knots after midnight tonight, settling to 25 knots by tomorrow afternoon. There is a gale warning in place tonight and Wednesday.

The winds in the forecast and over the weekend are caused by barrier jets — low pressure systems approaching physical barriers. In this case, the low-pressure systems are hitting the mountains around the Gulf of Alaska. The biggest impacts this weekend were localized to Prince Williams Sound. As the front moved onshore it weakened, manifesting on the Kenai Peninsula mostly as strong winds and light rain. 

It’s nothing out of the ordinary.

“The system this past weekend was kind of the first really strong system of the year,” he said. “But as we get into later in the fall and in the winter, these types of systems are very common.”

Get your windbreaker ready.

Sabine Poux is a producer and reporter for the Brave Little State podcast of Vermont Public. She was formerly news director and evening news host at KDLL in Kenai.

Originally from New York, Sabine has lived and reported in Argentina and Vermont and Kenai.
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