After a storm in western Alaska caused widespread flooding in several communities, officials are assessing the damage caused by one of the strongest storms to hit the state in decades on Sunday.
The remnants of Typhoon Merbok brought on the worst storm in recent state history, but faded Sunday as it tracked northwest, according to the National Weather Service. As the storm settles into the Chukchi Sea and flood waters recede in parts of western Alaska, small communities on the northwest coast remain under a warning. coastal flooding through Monday.
Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy declared a state of disaster on Saturday. At least five communities – Hooper Bay, Scammon Bay, Golovin, Newtok and Nome – have been affected since Sunday due to high water levels. Early damage reports showed erosion, electrical issues and power outages, according to Dunleavy.
The storm and flooding affected nearly 1,000 miles of the Alaskan coast, damaging roads and other infrastructure. Houses were seen to have come off their foundations and a house in Nome was floating down a river until it got stuck on a bridge.
The state expects a freeze in about three weeks and state officials and federal agencies, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, are working to speed up community recovery efforts, a Dunleavy said at a Sunday afternoon news conference.
“We will act as quickly as possible and will focus on communities that have really suffered damage and need help the most,” Dunleavy said. “Wherever there is help that is needed. We will get that help there as soon as possible.
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About 450 west coast residents sought refuge in shelters and others sought higher ground to ride out the storm. So far, no injuries or fatalities have been reported.
A missing child in Hooper Bay has been found safe and sound, Dunleavy tweeted Sunday afternoon.
Officials said they would monitor and assess damage to seawalls, water and sewage systems, airports and ports. Golovin Airport reportedly lost power and there was a boil water advisory for at least three communities, according to Dunleavy.
Beginning Monday, teams comprised of state and American Red Cross emergency professionals will visit communities to assess repairs and food, water and shelter needs, said Bryan Fisher, director of the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
Contributor: The Associated Press