The storm has lashed the Alaskan coast, causing severe coastal flooding and prompting evacuations


Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy declared a disaster on Saturday for the affected communities heavy rains it shook the coast, filling the roads with water and debris.

By Saturday night, the governor was reporting impacts on roads, oil storage facilities and possibly seawalls. Authorities are still investigating whether the storm affected the water supply and sewage systems in towns in the western part of the state, Dunleavy said at a news conference Saturday night.

About 450 residents of coastal communities have sought shelter in schools, according to Bryan Fisher, director of the state’s Department of Safety and Emergency Management.

There were no reports of injuries or deaths related to the storm Saturday night, Alaska National Guard Maj. Gen. Torrence Saxe said, adding that “there will likely be a military response” with aircraft ready to help with evacuations if needed. .

Water continues to rise early Sunday, with crests above the high tide line expected in Deering, 4-6 feet in Kotzebue and 5-7 feet in Shishmaref and Kivalina. National Weather Service.

“These are alarming numbers,” the NWS tweeted.

Coastal flood warnings remain in place for Alaska’s west and north coasts through Sunday, with several locations seeing very high water levels, according to CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam.

Water will be at or near peak level for 24 hours in some locations. Winds are expected to weaken as the storm pushes inland, but coastal water levels are expected to remain high through Sunday.

Houses are being thrown off their foundations

The storm is shaping up to be the state’s strongest in more than a decade, according to forecasters.

Creating “very angry seas” in the city of Nome, according to the National Weather Service in Fairbanks, the storm “pushed waves and storm surges into the community.”

Two men walk through rushing water on Front Street, half a block from the Bering Sea, in Nome, Alaska, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022.

The water level is still rising and is expected to peak on Sunday evening before slowly receding, affecting the city’s population of over 9,800.

The water level in Nome was at 8.47 feet Saturday night, down from a high of 10.52 feet earlier in the day. The levels exceeded those seen in the notable storms of 2011 and 2004, National Weather Service.

A floating building hit a 300-gallon tank in Nome around 6 p.m., causing a spill, according to Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Jason Brune. The extent of the spill was still unknown Saturday night.

Nome resident Simon Kinneen said he was driving along the Snake River in the Belmont Point area when he saw a house floating.

“The wind got high enough to float the house and the wind and the upwelling blew the house to the northwest,” he told CNN.

In a video made by Kinneen, an entire house can be seen floating in the river before being wedged between the river and a nearby bridge.

A building lifted off its foundation crashes into a highway overpass in Nome, Alaska, Saturday, September 17, 2022.

In Golovin, where some houses were pulled off their foundations, residents were taken to a local school on Saturday, officials said.

“Water is surrounding the school, houses and structures are flooded, at least a couple of houses are floating off their foundations, some older fuel tanks are tilted,” the National Weather Service in Fairbanks. he tweeted.

Golovin has a population of about 175, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and is just south of the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve.

CNN’s Sharif Paget contributed to this report.