After a storm-ravaged western Alaska caused widespread flooding in several communities, officials Sunday assessed damage from one of the strongest storms to hit the state in decades.
Remains of Typhoon Merbok triggered the worst storm in the state’s recent history, but abated as it moved northwest on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. As the storm settles in the Chukchi Sea and water recedes in some parts of western Alaska, smaller communities on the northwest coast will remain under a coastal flood advisory until 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 by the high water levels from Sunday. According to Dunleavy, the first damage reports have shown erosion, electrical problems and power outages.
The storm and flooding hit nearly 1,000 miles of Alaska’s coastline, damaging roads and other infrastructure. Houses were seen to have shifted from their foundations and a house in Nome floated in a river until it got stuck near 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 accelerate recovery efforts for communities, Dunleavy said at a news conference Sunday afternoon.
“We will move as soon as possible and we will focus on the communities that have been really damaged and need help the most,” Dunleavy said. “Anywhere where help is needed. We will get that help there as soon as possible.”
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About 450 residents on the west coast took refuge in shelters and others sought higher ground to contain the storm. So far, no injuries or deaths have been reported.
A missing child in Hooper Bay has been found safe, Dunleavy tweeted Sunday afternoon.
Officials said they will monitor and assess damage to sea walls, water and sewage systems, airports and ports. Golovin Airport is said to have lost power and water boiling advice has been issued for at least three communities, according to Dunleavy.
Starting Monday, teams made up of emergency response professionals and the American Red Cross will visit communities to assess repairs and needs for food, water and shelter, said Bryan Fisher, director of the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
Contributions: The The Bharat Express News