A single-engine experimental floatplane built by Sitkan Ivan Grutter lies overturned at the public seaplane dock Saturday morning. (Scott Saline photo)

A massive low pressure system swept across the Gulf of Alaska Friday evening (10-1-21) bringing exceptionally strong weather to the panhandle. The highest gust of the storm was 75 mph, recorded at around 7 p.m. at Sitka’s Rocky Gutierrez Airport, but sustained winds of 40-50 mph, and gusts to over 60, lasted until early Saturday morning. Offshore, the Cape Edgecumbe weather buoy recorded a gust of 64 knots (74 mph) at 8:20 p.m. Friday. The buoy reported seas of over 35-feet at 12:50 a.m. on Saturday, roughly the size of a three-story building.

Power was knocked out in some Sitka neighborhoods overnight, but restored by 5 a.m. (details pending from the CBS Electric Department).

The highest rainfall of the storm in Sitka was recorded at NSRAA’s Medvejie Hatchery in Bear Cove, with 2.95 inches in the 24 hours between 10 a.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday. The US Geodetic Survey in downtown Sitka reported 2.47 inches in the same period; the Sea Mountain Golf Course reported 2.44 inches.

Sitka’s extraordinary network of weather instruments is part of an ongoing research partnership at the Sitka Sound Science Center to develop a landslide warning system for the community. Realtime weather data from the network are available online here. Scroll down to “AK023: Cape Decision to Salisbury Sound Coastal Area” for the Sitka stations.