October 21, 2020

Snow, hurricane-force winds batter Alaska coast

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Packing hurricane-force winds, an Alaskan storm of “epic proportions” slammed into coastal communities, sending some residents fleeing to higher ground as it tore roofs from homes and knocked out power.

The strongest storm to hit the state in four decades carried with it heavy snows and rains. The precipitation sent water levels rising late Wednesday night in Nome, causing flooding in low-lying areas, the National Weather Service said.

“It’s barely beginning to wind down along the coast,” Stephen Kearney, a meteorologist for the Weather Service in Fairbanks, said late Wednesday night.

Emergency officials warned that areas on Alaska’s western coast between Norton Sound and Point Hope were vulnerable to a possible surge of sea water that could bring varying degrees of flooding to villages already soaked.

However, there were no new reports of substantial damage in Nome late Wednesday night, the National Weather Service said.

“The sea level will remain steady into the early morning hours and then start to come down tomorrow morning,” Kearney told the Anchorage Daily News.

Flooding was reported in Point Hope, where the water came within 10 feet of the airport runway, but the community still had power, Kearney said.

Earlier, the storm produced 85-mph gusts, well above hurricane force.

 

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