Big Storm Moves Off Coast, Smaller One Moving In

The Bering Sea storm hammering Alaska’s western coast has moved off toward Russia, but Don Moore with the National Weather Service says a smaller storm is rotating around it.

And it is currently going through western Alaska now, the winds have picked up from the west again, with the movement of the storm into the region. That has caused water to begin to push back up toward the west coast of Alaska,” Moore said.

Moore says the storm surge drove sea water to peak levels late Wednesday and into the evening and then subsided.

However with this new surge coming in we’ll see smaller rises. Basically will remain above typical values by 3 to 5 feet, but no where near as significant as it was yesterday,” Moore said.

Moore says yesterday Nome water levels peaked at 10 feet, which he called significant but lower than the 13.2 record from 1974. Kivalina peaked between 5 and 6 feet above normal tide level. He says the new storm has already moved into the region and is on the backside of the snow storm that came with it. He says the winds will continue through the day and are blowing between 20 to 40 miles per hour.

The peaks in the water levels will occur sometime this morning into the afternoon and then we’ll see water levels began to subside to more typical values after tonight,” Moore said.

Moore says another large storm is moving into Southwest Alaska and it will produce a blizzard, but will also impact sea water levels.

“With the storm moving into Southwest Alaska, that will create strong off shore flow, in Norton sound, with offshore flow up in Kotzebue Sound but not quite as strong so it is actually going to push the water away, and they’re going to see water levels actually go below what they would typically see,” Moore said.

Damage reported to the state incident command center from coastal communities has so far been minor.

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Lori Townsend is the News Director for the Alaska Public Radio Network. She got her start in broadcasting at the age of 11 as the park announcer of the fast pitch baseball games in Deer Park, Wisconsin. She has worked in print and broadcast journalism for more than 24 years. She was the co-founder and former Editor of Northern Aspects, a magazine featuring northern Wisconsin writers and artists. She worked for 7 years at tribal station WOJB on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibway Reservation in Wisconsin, first as an on-air programmer and special projects producer and eventually News Director. In 1997 she co-hosted a continuing Saturday afternoon public affairs talk program on station KSTP in St. Paul, Minnesota. Radio brought her to Alaska where she worked as a broadcast trainer for Native fellowship students at Koahnic Broadcasting. Following her work there, she helped co-found the non-profit broadcast company Native Voice Communications. NVC created the award-winning Independent Native News as well as producing many other documentaries and productions. Townsend was NVC’s technical trainer and assistant producer of INN. Through her freelance work, she has produced news and feature stories nationally and internationally for Independent Native News, National Native News, NPR , Pacifica, Monitor Radio, Radio Netherlands and AIROS. Her print work and interviews have been published in News from Indian Country, Yakama Nation Review and other publications. Ms. Townsend has also worked as a broadcast trainer for the Native American Journalist’s Association and with NPR’s Doug Mitchell and as a freelance editor. Townsend is the recipient of numerous awards for her work from the Alaska Press Club, the Native American Journalists Association and a gold and a silver reel award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Townsend was the recipient of a Fellowship at the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting in Rhode Island as well as a fellowship at the Knight Digital Media Center in Berkeley. She is an avid reader, a rabid gardener and counts water skiing, training horses, diving and a welding certification among her past and current interests. ltownsend (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8452 | About Lori