AP

Repair work begins in some Alaska towns slammed by storm

Sep 22, 2022, 6:54 AM | Updated: 6:58 pm

Water rushes down Front Street, just a half block from the Bering Sea, in Nome, Alaska, on Saturday...

Water rushes down Front Street, just a half block from the Bering Sea, in Nome, Alaska, on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022 as the remnants of Typhoon Merbok moved into the region. It was a massive storm system — big enough to cover the mainland U.S. from the Pacific Ocean to Nebraska and from Canada to Texas. It influenced weather systems as far away as California, where a rare late-summer storm dropped rain on the northern part of the state, offering a measure of relief to wildfire crews but also complicating fire suppression efforts because of mud and loosened earth. (AP Photo/Peggy Fagerstrom)

(AP Photo/Peggy Fagerstrom)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — There’s been significant damage to some roads and homes in parts of western Alaska following last weekend’s devastating coastal storm, Gov. Mike Dunleavy said Wednesday after touring some communities along the state’s the vast coastline.

“For the most part, people are recovering and digging out,” he told a news conference.

There were no injuries or deaths reported after the storm, the remnant of Typhoon Merbok, traveled north through the Bering Strait. It brought tidal surges and high winds that ripped up the main streets in several communities and pushed homes off foundations in what was described as the worst storm in a half century.

About 21,000 people living along a 1,000 mile (1,609 kilometer) stretch of Alaska’s western coast — a distance longer than the California coastline — were affected by the storm.

Among the communities hardest hit was Nome, famous for being the finish line of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race each March.

Ryan Anderson, head of the state transportation department, said many repairs are needed, including fixing torn up pavement on the town’s main street and removing storm debris.

A highway that connects Nome to the tiny community of Council, about 70 miles (113 kilometers) away, was also heavily damaged. Up to 10 miles (16 kilometers) of that road were totally obliterated, he said, with heavy damage occurring on another 10 more miles (16 more kilometers) or so.

Two bridges on the road are in good shape, but the approaches so the bridges were damaged.

The state has already connected with contractors in Nome to begin repair work on the street and road, and engineers are in place. “That work is happening immediately,” he said.

They are working with contractors to repair damage in other communities. A plane for surveyors is waiting for better weather in Nome to fly.

“We’re going to map this entire area along Norton Sound to make sure we’re documenting these damages and we’re moving forward to repair them,” he said.

In the community of Elim, its main street was completely destroyed, and about 3 miles (5 kilometers) of road were washed out in the community of Golovin.

The most damage in Golovin occurred on a spit, where homes were slammed by waves and knocked off their foundations. Large shipping containers were strewn up to 2 miles (3 kilometers) across the bay, Dunleavy said.

There are few roads in western Alaska and none that connect to the state’s contiguous road system, leaving communities to rely on air travel. Anderson said the airports survived the storm well.

“All airports on the west coast are operational and as of today, all of our lighting systems are working,” he said.

Dunleavy said it was too early to determine the cost of all repairs, but he anticipated getting some estimates for road and airports within a few days.

The state’s emergency management director, Bryan Fisher, said the state is awaiting word if its request for a federal disaster declaration to bring in additional resources, personnel and financial support will be approved.

Dunleavy on Saturday approved a state disaster declaration. Fisher said they are focused on getting supplies like plywood, insulation and tin to repair roofs “to make sure we can button up homes and make sure residents out there have a safe, warm place to be before winter shows up.”

About 130 members of the Alaska National Guard and other military organizations have been activated to help remove debris and clean up after the storm, and to talk to residents.

“We want to go out with compassion and want talk to the people and make sure that we’re taking care of their needs,” said Maj. Gen. Torrence Saxe, the state’s adjutant general and commissioner for the military and veterans affairs department.

Dunleavy said he plans to visit these communities again early next month to see how much progress has been made.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

President Joe Biden speaks at a 2024 Prosperity Summit, July 16, 2024, in North Las Vegas, Nev. Nea...

Associated Press

Biden throws support behind VP Kamala Harris to lead Democrats against Trump, aiming to avoid further party chaos

Biden dropped out of the 2024 race for the White House on Sunday, ending his bid for reelection following a disastrous debate with Trump.

49 minutes ago

Photo: A delegate wears a hat with pins during the Republican National Convention Monday, July 15, ...

Christine Fernando, Steve People and Jill Colvin, The Associated Press

Rep. Walsh speaks for Washington as cheering GOP delegates nominate Trump for president

Cheering GOP delegates formally nominated Donald Trump for president at Monday's Republican National Convention kickoff.

6 days ago

Photo: Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, right, points toward Republican presidential candidate former Presi...

Jill Colvin, Julie Carr Smyth, Steve Peoples and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

Trump picks Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, a once-fierce critic turned loyal ally, as his GOP running mate

Donald Trump named Sen. JD Vance of Ohio as his running mate, choosing a onetime critic who became a loyal ally.

6 days ago

trump assassination...

Ayanna Alexander, The Associated Press

What to know about Trump assassination attempt and the investigation into the shooting

Authorities want to know how a shooter was able to get on top of a roof so close to where former President Donald Trump was speaking and open fire.

6 days ago

Photo: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is surrounded by U.S. Secret...

Julie Carr Smyth, Jill Colvin, Colleen Long, Michael Balsamo, Eric Tucker and Michelle L. Price, The Associated Press

Trump heads to convention as authorities investigate motive, security in assassination attempt

Trump called for unity and resilience after an attempt on his life added fresh uncertainty to an already tumultuous presidential campaign.

7 days ago

Photo: President Joe Biden speaks from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Sunday,...

Will Weissert and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

In primetime address, Biden says country must not go down road of political violence

President Joe Biden says “we can’t, we must not go down” the road of political violence in America after the attempted Trump assassination.

7 days ago

Repair work begins in some Alaska towns slammed by storm