Historic Storm Wreaks Havoc on Western Alaska Communities

Western Alaska has been reeling after strong winds and storm surges devastated much of the coast.

The damage has prompted Gov. Mike Dunleavy to formally ask the Biden administration for federal aid.

The storm, a holdover from Typhoon Merbok, is being described as the strongest September storm to hit Alaska in 70 years, according to Alaska’s News Source.

Small towns along the state’s 1,300 miles of coastline experienced torrential rain, strong winds and severe storm surges. Newly elected Alaska Representative Mary Peltola said the rise was “recorded at 8, almost 9 feet at Nome on Norton Sound.”

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Dunleavy was preoccupied with the effects of the storm and visited the coast damage sites on Monday. The governor on Tuesday sent a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency asking for help dealing with the widespread destruction.

“There was water invasion, certainly some erosion, some airports had debris,” Dunleavy said. The airport damage could be particularly dire because many Alaskan communities can only be serviced by air.

The Alaska Red Cross is coordinating with local officials to provide assistance to affected communities.

One of the hardest-hit communities is the village of Golovin, according to a separate report from Alaska’s News Source.

The village was badly flooded by the extreme storm surge and large parts of the city are under water. Some houses were even torn from their foundations by the wrath of the sea.

“It only took a few minutes,” said Carol Oliver of Golovin. “The water was moving so fast that our town was covered in sand thrown up by the waves. … It’s shocking to see what the water can do.”

Resident Season Haugen described the damage in a video call to Alaska’s News Source, explaining, “I’m in a canoe in front of my father’s house right now. … It is all surrounded by water.”

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Haugen also pointed out that a house belonging to his father’s neighbor had been forcibly moved to a new location by the torrential waters. “That’s a house that shouldn’t be there,” he said.

Golovin will remain under a high surf recommendation for most of the week.

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https://www.westernjournal.com/town-covered-sand-historic-storm-wreaks-havoc-western-alaska-communities/ Historic Storm Wreaks Havoc on Western Alaska Communities

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