Storm Continues to Lash Alaska’s West Coast

Photo by David Dodman, KNOM Radio Mission - Nome: Just before sunset on Tuesday night, a man surveys the growing waves at the Nome seawall, just on the south side of Front Street.

A powerful storm continues to lash the west coast of Alaska, but so far there are no casualties reported, though damages are mounting.
The wind is peeling roofs off of houses in Nome. Residents battled winds gusting to 60 miles an hour last night. Incident command says several roofs have been compromised and pieces of tin are blowing around in the 50 mile per hour wind.

Water and debris sprayed over the sea wall, along with a two foot diameter log that made it onto the street. Overnight incident commander Charlie Lean says the 7 and half foot surge combined with wave action led to standing water on River street, along with debris on front street.

According to the state Emergency Services center and the Alaska Village Electric Co-opoerative, there are a number of power outages, including parts of Tununak and a large part of Hooper Bay.  On the east side of Nome, some residents are without electricity.  Nome Utility Crews have been out early this morning, but high winds can make it difficult or unsafe at times to deal with repairs.

There will be more concerns as the storm passes through and the wind directions change.  This is when the eroding coastal village of Shishmaref could get hit again.  In Nome, Charlie Lean says a big concern will come when ice begins being pushed ashore.

Lean says the ice is slushy at the point of wave contact, and becomes stronger as you go inland.

Nome emergency operations planned to close east Front Street this morning.  No new evacuation orders are expected, but Tuesday afternoon’s orders are still in effect. The Coastal flood warning for the Nome area does not expire until 6 a.m. tomorrow.  The National Weather Service says winds could still gust to 70 this morning, but they should settle Wednesday afternoon.  In Kotzebue they remain under a blizzard until late Wednesday.

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