Alaska watches, waits as Bering Sea storm pummels coast
Alaska, being pummeled by a monster Bering Sea storm, has reported no deaths or injuries as a result of the storm as of Thursday morning and no major damage. But with the threat of danger far from over, emergency crews remain on alert. (Local video below.)
Emergency responders were on standby Thursday after having been on "24-hour operations throughout the night," Jeremy Zidek of Alaska's Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management told The Times on Thursday morning.
There were no reports of major damage, but Zidek said minor damage included windows being blown in, limited flooding and roof damage.
"But at this point, because the event is still going on and there are still coastal flood warnings in effect, we are not pushing our communities to go out and start to document their damages. We're still dealing with the life safety issues."
Power was out in some areas, Zidek said.
In Nome, the emergency shelter had been closed because it was no longer needed, Zidek said, but other communities still had shelters in place. There are "fewer areas in danger at this point, but we're still very concerned with those coastal communities," he said. "This storm surge could still be a potential danger for them."
Among the villages in danger, as reported Wednesday in Nation Now, was Kivalina, population 427, which sits on an 8-mile-long barrier reef. Erosion from previous storms has shrunk the reef to just 27 acres.
The village has been shored up with thousands of feet of rock revetment, which appeared to be holding, but the entire village wasn't protected, Colleen Swan, a City Council member and operations manager for the town, told the Los Angeles Times.
The National Weather Service said the low-pressure zone at the center of the storm was expected to gradually weaken and move northwest toward Wrangel Island in Russia by late Thursday.
-- Amy Hubbard
Photo: Waves splash up on the shore near homes in Nome, Alaska. One of the strongest storms to hit western Alaska in decades battered coastal communities Wednesday with snow and hurricane-force winds. Credit: Peggy Fagerstrom / Associated Press