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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Massive Storm Moves Closer To Alaska

Massive Storm Moves Closer To Alaska

High Winds And Storm Surge Feared

By Dell Hill

It’s being described by weather experts an an “Epic Storm”.  A massive low pressure system is moving toward Alaska and the weather experts are extremely concerned about what affects it will have, as well as what path it will take over the course of the next week.  Let’s go straight to Fox News for an update.
AP Photo - November 9, 2011: This image provided by the NOAA-19 satellite's AVHRR sensor, shows the storm bearing down on Alaska in this infrared imagery.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska –  High winds and surging waves pummeled Alaska's western coast Wednesday, churning the Bering Sea and forcing residents of Nome and isolated native villages to seek higher ground inland.

"We do have some reports of buildings losing roofs in the Nome area," said meteorologist Scott Berg at the National Weather Service in Fairbanks. "Also water at the base of buildings in Nome."

Nome Communications officer Zane Brown says the height of snow and hurricane-force winds hit at about 2 a.m. He says the city continues to prepare for a possible Bering Sea surge at high tide later in the morning, but so far damage is minimal.
Brown says a voluntary evacuation moved residents from beachfront businesses and homes to shelters at a community center and a church.
Planning section chief Mark Roberts of the state emergency operations center tells KTUU-TV that west coast communities were reporting isolated power and communications interruptions.

But he says it's too early for a complete picture of damage.

The last time forecasters saw something similar was in November 1974, when Nome also took the brunt of the storm. That sea surge measured more than 13 feet, pushing beach driftwood above the level of the previous storm of its type in 1913.

Officials are concerned for Alaska Natives in the 18 villages in the region.

The village of Point Hope, which sits on the tip of a peninsula with the Arctic Ocean on one side and the Bering Sea on the other, is seven to eight feet above sea level, said Mayor Steve Oomittuk.

The Inupiat Eskimo village of about 700 people has no sea wall and no evacuation road. If evacuation becomes necessary, everyone will go to the school because it sits on higher ground and is big enough to accommodate everyone, he said.

Smaller communities that are vulnerable to storm erosion were of particular concern, especially the village of Kivalina, already one of the state's most threatened communities because of erosion.”

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