Communities Relieved As Storm Subsides

Two sentiments being expressed from coastal communities after the storm and ocean surges have subsided are relief and the importance of being prepared and organized.

Shishmaref mayor Howard Weyiouanna says all storm and flood warnings were canceled this morning for the area. He says high surfs started Wednesday afternoon and lasted until 4 this morning, resulting in significant erosion.

“Mostly during the evening we did lose a lot of ground on the west of our community right where the first rock revetment was placed. We lost 20 to 30 feet of erosion ground,” Weyiouanna said.

Weyiouanna says the ocean ate into the corner of the rock revetment and is now less than 100 feet from three homes. He says in the past ice formed in mid to late October but the Chukchi is still ice free.

In Kivalina, city council member Colleen Swan says things have settled down and are quiet now, but Wednesday evening the ocean crashed through the south end channel into the lagoon. She says it broke up the lagoon ice and was gauged at about 25 miles per hour and people began moving elders and children to the school. She says children in the community are stressed by the event and after the evacuation of 2007, she says her 12 year old son gets scared by storms.

“That never leaves his mind, every time we get a storm he asks me are we going to be evacuated and you hear that when you run into children on the street or children at the school. It had a very lasting impression on them and it’s a very stressful time for them,” Swan said.

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Lori Townsend is the news director and senior host for Alaska Public Media. You can send her news tips and program ideas for Talk of Alaska and Alaska Insight at or call 907-550-8452.

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