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Flood waters receding after storm batters western Alaska

Alaska Coastal Flooding
Posted at 10:52 AM, Sep 19, 2022

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Flood waters are receding in parts of western Alaska battered by the worst storm in a half-century.

The storm left behind debris flung by powerful Bering Sea waves, the remnants of Typhoon Merbok, which was weakening Sunday as it moved north from the Bering Strait into the Chukchi Sea.

Officials say the storm caused widespread flooding and damage along 1,000 miles of the Alaska coastline.

Several communities reported homes were knocked off their foundations by the force of the incoming water.

In Nome, the water reached its highest water level since 1974 — 11.1 feet. The storm also washed out part of a highway.

The massive storm also influenced weather systems as far away as California, where rare late-summer rains drenched the northern part of the state.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy, who declared a disaster declaration Saturday, said officials intend to rebuild everything the storm destroyed as soon as possible.

Officials also credited the National Weather Service for giving an early storm warning that prevented injuries and loss of life.

“The National Weather Service was able to give early warning of this storm and fully notified communities in the path,” said Bryan Fisher, Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, in a news release. “Local and tribal governments activated their emergency response plans and did what was necessary to protect their community members. These steps have been instrumental in preventing injury and loss of life and have minimized damage to property.”

Gov. Dunleavy said a child was reported missing Saturday but was later found.