As Northwest Alaska heavy winds die down, flooding likely to impact communities

A graphic from the National Weather Service shows a wind storm moving across Northwest Alaska. (National Weather Service)

A fall storm has brought high winds and coastal flooding to Northwest Alaska, less than three months after the region was battered by the remnants of a typhoon. 

National Weather Service meteorologist Bobby Bianco said the latest storm began to form Wednesday night, building into Thursday. Gusts of between 60 and 80 miles per hour hit communities from Wales down by the Bering Strait all the way up to Utqiaġvik. 

“The highest gusts along the coast we saw came in Cape Lisburne, and that was Thursday morning right around 1 a.m,” Bianco said. “We saw gusts to 90 miles an hour there.”

Bianco said the heavy winds are set to die down as Friday goes on. Communities like Utqiaġvik and the Red Dog Mine have seen elevated water levels, he said.

The National Weather Service is warning of possible coastal flooding in the Kotzebue and Nome areas until 10 p.m. Friday, with an Utqiagvik flood warning in effect until 6 a.m. Saturday. Officials say damage to fish and hunting camps along the coast is expected, with erosion also a possibility.

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