• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 49s

Winter storm ravages coastal communities

By Kirsten Swann 1:33 AM November 11, 2013

Families rally on behalf of Western Alaska towns devastated by flooding, high winds

ANCHORAGE – When a winter storm smashed into the coast of Western Alaska over the weekend, the surging water breached roads and broke through sewage lines.

Communication was cut off. Food supplies were destroyed. Homes were flooded.

Monday evening, a handful of Alaskans stood in the snow on an Anchorage street corner, waving homemade signs and trying to draw attention to the plight of their friends and relatives in communities across the state’s western coast. Wendy Shipton, one of the rally’s organizers, is a St. Michael native whose family ties range from Unalakleet to Kotlik and Stebbins.

She said the tidal surge broke sewage lines in Stebbins, flooding homes and sidewalks. Some residents waded through the icy sewage in search of help. There was none to be found.

Allen Sagoonick, who’s lived in Unalakleet for most of his life, described the raging waves that struck the seaside village Sunday. He said many residents abandoned their homes to flee for higher ground, and the flooding took out electrical power to the town’s fresh water pump house.

“The other villages that do not have high ground to move to are the places that will really be in trouble,” he said.

Sagoonick said Unalakleet was used to winter flooding: The town’s distinct topography was testament to the waves that occasionally surged through town.

“But at the same time, what’s built by the ocean can be taken by the ocean,” he said.

Other coastal communities face the same plight.

Shipton said she was trying to spread the word about Western Alaska’s winter woes. While headlines were dominated by news of Typhoon Haiyan’s destruction in the Philippines, she said she hoped Alaskans would lend a helping hand to their own neighbors affected by the same weather pattern.

Standing on an Anchorage street corner Monday, holding a poster board sign entreating passing drivers to send water and food to Kotlik, Shipton said she felt helpless.

“My son has family in the Philippines and I’m praying for them, but we want to avoid casualties on our own land,” she said. “It’s hard because nobody’s listening, and it’s hard to get the message out.”

Latest Stories

  • Politics

    Alaska Legislature gavels in for special session

    by Associated Press on Apr 28, 11:17

    The Alaska Legislature gaveled in for a special session called by the governor after lawmakers adjourned with a partially funded state budget. Both the House and Senate immediately recessed. Failure to reach a budget agreement sent the Legislature, which was scheduled to adjourn April 19, into overtime. Lawmakers Monday approved a compromise operating budget before […]

  • DayBreak

    Holly Brooks places 3rd overall in series of ski marathon races

    by Daybreak Staff on Apr 28, 11:12

    It was a ski season coined “the marathon of marathons,” according to Olympian cross-country skier Holly Brooks.  She placed third overall in a series of ski marathon races, the highest finish ever for someone from North America. “I totaled it last night,” Brooks said. “538 kilometers in 10 different countries and 11 ski marathons.” Brooks […]

  • Politics

    Demboski, Berkowitz square off in first runoff debate

    by Jacquie Slater on Apr 28, 10:43

    Anchorage mayoral candidates Ethan Berkowitz and Amy Demboski went head to head Monday in their first debate since moving into the runoff election. The debate was organized by the University of Alaska Anchorage debate team and was held during the Chamber of Commerce’s Make It Monday meeting. Demboski and Berkowitz had three key topics presented […]

  • Weather

    Daybreak weather, April 28

    by Brett Shepard on Apr 28, 9:07

    Southcentral Decreasing cloudiness today with partly cloudy skies by the afternoon. Southeast A lot of rain and very windy over southern portions of the Panhandle. Interior Mostly to partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the 50s. North Slope Mostly cloudy skies with some snow showers to the east. West A beautiful day with mostly to […]

  • On-Air

    The meat you eat: Antibiotics in our food

    by Ivanhoe Newswire on Apr 28, 8:50

    Each year, 23,000 Americans die and eight million are hospitalized as a result of antibiotic-resistant infections, and it has nothing to do with prescription medication. Here are some reasons why you may want to take a closer look at what is on your plate. It might look good, but what is added to beef, pork […]

  • News

    Denali National Park wolf count drops below 50

    by Associated Press on Apr 28, 8:33

    Denali National Park and Preserve’s wolf numbers have reached a record low this spring with an estimated population of just 48, according to a Park Service study. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports (http://bit.ly/1J6oiNV) that Park Service estimates the wolf population twice each year since 1986 using radio collard wolves and analysis of the few un-collared […]

  • News

    Woman with warrant tries to dodge authorities by hiding in car trunk

    by Hope Miller on Apr 28, 8:04

    A Sterling Highway traffic stop ended with a wanted woman in custody after she was spotted trying to crawl her way into a car trunk to avoid troopers, authorities say. Around 8 p.m. Sunday, Anchor Point Alaska State Troopers stopped a 1999 Chevrolet Cavalier near mile 142 of the Sterling Highway for speeding. When troopers […]

  • News

    Alaska Airlines adds flights from Seattle to Charleston, SC

    by Associated Press on Apr 28, 6:49

    Alaska Airlines is beginning nonstop flights from its Seattle hub to Charleston in November. The Post and Courier of Charleston reported Tuesday (http://bit.ly/1doc7SF) that the airline is also adding nonstop service to Nashville, Tennessee, and Raleigh-Durham in North Carolina. Alaska Airline’s vice president John Kirby told the newspaper the move adds three cities to its […]