Kipnuk the latest village to flood as storms rile the ice-free Bering Sea

Kipnuk on the Bering Sea coast. (Google Maps)

High winds and warm temperatures caused flooding in Kipnuk this week. Kipnuk sits three miles from the Bering Sea coast. Facebook photos showed water flowing down slushy roads.

Tribal administrator Sam Amik said that the winds reached as high as 60 miles per hour, but the flooding didn’t last. He said that he didn’t hear of any damage, but that the weather has not been normal for this time of year.

“It feels like it’s warm and a lot of high winds, I think even more than usual a year before,” Amik said.

This has become the new norm across the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. Late winters and sudden thawing have turned roads into slush and made rivers and sloughs, which are necessary for travel, less safe because they take longer to freeze.

Related: Heavy, expensive wind storms projected to hit northwest Alaska harder in coming decades.

There have been reports of little to no sea ice on the Bering Sea coast, which means less protection for coastal villages when winter storms pop up. Coastal villages like Kotlik and Hooper Bay experienced flooding earlier this month after a winter storm. The National Weather Service shows that Kipnuk could expect temperatures to reach as high as the low 30s for the rest of the week.

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