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Extreme Wave Heights in the Bering Sea from Remnants of Typhoon Merbok

Coastal Alaska was devastated by flooding due to the remnants of Typhoon Merbok (Figure 1a) on September 17, 2022. Storm surge flooded communities along 1,000 miles (1,609 km) of Alaska’s west coast, damaging homes, submerging roads and triggering evacuations. Satellite measurements recorded 17 observations of significant wave height exceeding 14 m (46 feet) on September 16-17 2022 (Figure 1b, dark red dots). Such a sea state is defined as “phenomenal” by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). During the 48-hour period, 5% of all satellite radar altimeter observations in the Bering Sea exceeded 9m (30 ft), defined as “very high” seas by the WMO (Figure 1c) and 19% of observations exceeded 6m (20 ft), WMO “high” seas.

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