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Deadly Landslides and Rare Severe Thunderstorms Rock Alaska


A string of landslides turned deadly in the Alaskan panhandle on Tuesday, with three presumed dead in the southeastern city of Sitka.

Over three inches of rain fell between late Monday night and Tuesday in the city of 9,000 people in the southern portion of the state’s panhandle, leading to a search-and-rescue operation for three missing men, according to the Alaska Daily News. That search was turned into a recovery operation, meaning the three missing are now presumed dead. At least six landslides were reported destroying at least one home, leading the city of Sitka to declare a State of Emergency. Alaskan Governor Bill Walker surveyed the wreckage on Wednesday.

While Sitka receives an enormous amount of precipitation – nearly 90 inches per year on average – the city’s 2.5 inches of rainfall on Tuesday morning, with about two inches of that in just three-and-a-half hours, is unusual.

But that was far from the only significant weather event to strike our 49th state. The National Weather Service’s Anchorage office issued two rare severe thunderstorm warnings on Tuesday, and quarter-sized hail was reported near Wasilla, about 30 miles north of Anchorage – and about a thousand miles from Sitka. The warnings were the first issued by the office since June 27th, 2009, a span of over six years.

As always, WeatherNation will have the latest on the storms and severe weather.

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Chris Bianchi

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