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'Powerful cyclone' bears down on Gulf of Alaska

Alaska Dispatch

The National Weather Service has issued a warning for warm, strong winds on Saturday night through Sunday afternoon as a strong storm system makes its way into the Gulf of Alaska.

"A powerful cyclone across the North Pacific will move northward into South Central Alaska tonight through Sunday," The NWS Alaska reports on its Facebook page. "Along with unusually warm air, this system will support powerful Chinook winds through Turnagain Arm, Portage Valley, Anchorage, and the higher elevations near Anchorage."

Accompanying the winds will be unseasonably warm temperatures. A special weather statement said that any precipitation Sunday in the areas affected by this storm system likely won't be snow:

"This powerful storm is originating well to the south over the subtropics and is expected to bring unseasonably warm air with it," the statement said. "This should allow temperatures to rise near 50 degrees. This will allow the lion's share of precipitation to fall as rain."

Much of the Southcentral region had already seen warmer temperatures since Friday night, as high winds whipped through the Mat-Su Valley, eastern Kenai Peninsula and Anchorage, making a mess of streets previously frozen solid and topped with recent snows.

According to the NWS, winds could reach as high as 100 mph along Turnagain Arm, the Anchorage Hillside and Portage Valley. In Anchorage, gusts could hit up to 70 mph on Sunday afternoon.

Portions of the Interior are also expected to see high winds.

Curious about the conditions in your area? Visit the National Weather Service page for Alaska to see any watches, warnings or advisories in your region.