Alaska Prepares for Typhoon Nuri

Super Typhoon Nuri is seen from space in this Nov. 4, 2014 image provided by NASA. (PHOTO CREDIT: NASA Earth Observatory)
Super Typhoon Nuri is seen from space in this Nov. 4, 2014 image provided by NASA. (PHOTO CREDIT: NASA Earth Observatory)

Sig Hansen, captain of the fishing vessel Northwestern, featured in the television series “Deadliest Catch,” told ABC News that folks in Alaskan waters are bracing themselves for what Typhoon Nuri may bring, including 50-foot waves.

The storm may hit the Aleutian Island chain in Alaska as early as Friday. Hansen has been fishing King Crab, northeast of Dutch Harbor in the Bering Sea, about 300 miles away.

“Right now, the weather’s decent. We’ve been watching the weather reports, and so that’s what’s got us kind of skittish,” he said. “We’ve had other reports coming in, which are very strange, like 25-knot winds with 30-plus foot [waves]. It’s just very uncommon, so you know something’s coming. It’s just a warning sign for now. We’re just on pins and needles here.”

“We’re just keeping our fingers crossed that it doesn’t push in a more easterly direction, and bring those 70-knot winds this way,” he said. “Right now, we’re at battle stations. In other words, we need about a 24-hour notice to get our boats, our gear, and get onto shore. You don’t want to be out here.”

“From what I’m hearing, we haven’t been through anything like that before, at least not in my lifetime,” he said. “And I don’t want to. We’ve seen 50-foot waves, we’ve seen 120-knot winds. I’ve been out in stuff like that. But the difference is, if it’s going to hit here with that kind of power, you don’t know the frequency of the waves. We don’t know how it’s going to affect the ocean differently. I don’t want to stick around to find out.”

Kip Wadlow, U.S. Coast Guard spokesperson in Juneau, Alaska, said emergency crews are standing by with helicopters and a 378-foot cutter. The emergency crews were already ready for duty to assist with the crab fishing season.

“These assets are standing by to provide assistance if called upon. We are working with federal and state tribal partners to keep an eye on the storm,” Wadlow said.

Jeremy Zidek, from Alaska’s division of homeland security and emergency management, has warned communities about possible weather dangers along western Alaska, including many native tribes and the Alaska Village Council Presidents.

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Suzanne Yeo and Susanna Kim

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