Nome Experiences Minor Coastal Flooding Overnight

The worst of the high winds and snow have diminished in western Alaska but the storm isn’t over. The National Weather Service is expecting storm surges to begin affecting communities this afternoon, which could cause flooding. Jerry Steiger is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Nome. He says the community had minor coastal flooding overnight, and some structures sustained wind damage.

“I believe it wasn’t, probably, quite to the magnitude that we were expecting, but it’s not over with, we could still see significant flooding still this evening if things do continue with the winds and the water levels rise as expected,” Steiger said.

Other communities are also reporting minimal damage so far. But the water level is already rising in the St. Lawrence Island community of Gambell. Jordan James is the vice mayor there. He is worried the waves could damage the runway.

“The waves are starting to pick up right now as the winds shifted. They’re reaching the airport as we speak now, and as the tide comes in they’re going to get bigger,” James said.

James says Gambell recorded wind gusts of 100 miles per hour last night. In Kotzebue, city manager Keith Green says everything is going as smoothly as could be expected. He says the winds picked up enough to send some debris flying around. Green is getting his first taste of a fall storm in coastal Alaska after moving up from Georgia 12 weeks ago.

“It was a change, it was interesting, our townhouse was shaking at times, but it’s what I call the Alaska experience. We had a great team of people working with us and I felt confident that we would be safe,” Green said.

Green says the city opened up the school and armory for residents who wanted to evacuate for residents who wanted to take shelter away from their homes, but no one used it. He handed out his cell phone number to residents in case they needed help or storm updates.

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Annie Feidt is the Editor and Producer of Alaska News Nightly, and is also a frequent contributor to the show. Her reporting has taken her searching for polar bears on the Chukchi Sea ice, out to remote checkpoints on the Iditarod Trail, and up on the Eklutna Glacier with scientists studying its retreat. Her stories have been heard nationally on NPR and Marketplace. Annie’s career in radio journalism began in 1998 at Minnesota Public Radio, where she produced the regional edition of All Things Considered. She moved to Anchorage in 2004 with her husband, intending to stay in the 49thstate just a few years. She has no plans to leave anytime soon. afeidt (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8443 | About Annie