• 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

  • Crime

    Teenagers sentenced for Fairbanks armed robbery

    by Associated Press on Nov 26, 9:25

    Two teenagers convicted of armed robbery at a Fairbanks liquor store have been sentenced to five years in prison. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports 19-year-old Marcus Djaun Howard and 18-year-old Brandon Michael Roberts reached a plea arrangement with prosecutors for the March 2 robbery of the liquor store and gas station northeast of Fairbanks. Prosecutors say […]

  • Weather

    Daybreak weather, Nov. 26

    by Brett Shepard on Nov 26, 7:57

    Skies will become partly cloudy for most of Southcentral Alaska today and remain that way through the end of the week. In the Southeast skies will be mostly sunny. In the Interior skies will be mostly cloudy. On the North Slope skies will be partly cloudy. Out West skies will be cloudy with some rain […]

  • News

    Geothermal energy: What Alaska can learn from Iceland

    by Alexis Fernandez on Nov 26, 7:05

    Tucked away in the mountains of Iceland are people enjoying nature in its purest form. The country shares many similarities with Alaska, including its cold surface. But underneath Iceland, the earth is bursting with heat. It sits in the border of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Every year, the North American Plate and the Eurasian Plate move 2 […]

  • News

    Building an Alaskan legacy: Murkowski looks ahead to new leadership roles

    by Rhonda McBride on Nov 26, 2:48

    Come January, when the Republican majority takes over the U.S. Senate, Sen. Lisa Murkowski will have the power to strike a double whammy. She will wield two gavels: chair of the Energy and Natural Resources committee and chair of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee. Political observers say it’s unusual to see such a combination of chairmanships. […]

  • News

    First day of Great Alaska Shootout sees 1,300 tickets sold

    by Kate McPherson on Nov 26, 2:39

    The Great Alaska Shootout is on the rebound after the first two women’s games drew decent crowds to the new venue at the Alaska Airlines Center Tuesday night. More than 1,300 tickets were sold for the session, though attendance was higher with some players’ families and team support staff not included in the ticket-sale figure. […]

  • News

    Alaska Gov.-elect Walker names 4 to positions

    by Associated Press on Nov 25, 23:27

    Alaska Gov.-elect Bill Walker on Tuesday announced four new staff members, including an attorney general. Walker said in a release that Craig Richards will serve as attorney general. Richards said he’ll be reviewing the status of the National Guard investigation and the state’s lawsuit that is trying to reinstate the ban on same-sex marriage. Walker […]

  • News

    Vehicle leaves Parks Highway, strikes musher and sled dogs near Willow

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 25, 21:48

    Last updated Wednesday, Nov. 26 at 9 a.m. Musher Karin Hendrickson is in the hospital with a broken back and leg after a car veered off the Parks Highway Tuesday night and hit the Iditarod finisher and her sled dogs. She was taken to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center and later transported to Providence Alaska Medical Center […]

  • Lifestyle

    Artists in Alaska plan to add a little color to Black Friday

    by Shannon Ballard on Nov 25, 20:10

    Life needs color, says Lori Teich. That explains why nearly everything she owns is splattered with paint. Teich says she started experimenting with acrylic after serving five years in the U.S. Coast Guard. “I’ve kind of always had that urge to do it,” she said. It’s the one thing that helps her relax. Painting even transferred color […]