• 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

  • DayBreak

    Documentary charts Anchorage’s growth over past 100 years

    by Daybreak Staff on Mar 30, 11:20

    In the past 100 years Anchorage has grown from what was first a tent city to what we now call home. Documentary filmmaker Todd Hardesty joined Daybreak Monday to talk about how he’s helping tell the city’s story with a film called “Anchorage Is…” Hardesty was tasked with covering the 100-year period while also touching […]

  • On-Air

    Teacher of the Week: Royce Zometsky

    by James Gaddis on Mar 30, 10:06

    Building relationships is the key to success for Clark Middle School educator Royce Zometsky. The eighth-grade science teacher was named KTVA 11’s Teacher of the Week Monday morning on Daybreak. “Getting to know them, so it doesn’t seem that they’re just coming in, I’m just going through a routine on a daily basis,” Zometsky said. […]

  • Politics

    Low-income workers say Medicaid expansion would help

    by Rhonda McBride on Mar 30, 9:14

    The House Health and Social Services Committee heard from a number of working Alaskans who fall in the Medicaid coverage gap. The committee took several hours of testimony on Saturday on House Bill 148, legislation to reform and expand Medicaid, introduced by Gov. Bill Walker. Most of those who weighed in said they support Medicaid […]

  • Politics

    Prop 4: Funds needed to improve trail system

    by Jacquie Slater on Mar 30, 8:54

    Anchorage resident Hans Thompson has been enjoying the trails in Anchorage for years. “I moved here when I was about 14, and I’d bike on the trails almost every day growing up,” Thompson said. Now, Thompson is a homeowner. He says he’s voting yes to Prop 4 on Election Day April 7. If it passes, […]

  • News

    Tuesday is deadline to apply for PFD

    by Associated Press on Mar 30, 8:37

    Alaskans are almost out of time to sign up for their share of the state’s oil wealth this year. Tuesday is the deadline to apply for the 2015 Alaska Permanent Fund dividend. The payout is based on the five-year average of the fund’s statutory net income. Last year, the $1,884 payout distributed to Alaskans was […]

  • Weather

    Daybreak weather, March 30

    by Brett Shepard on Mar 30, 8:06

    Southcentral Mostly cloudy skies today with rain showers for the Prince William Sound and eastern Kenai Peninsula. Southeast Mostly cloudy skies with a chance of rain showers throughout the day. Interior Mostly to partly cloudy skies with mild temperatures. North Slope Mostly cloudy skies. Western Alaska A chance for a few rain and snow showers, […]

  • News

    Spenard Roadhouse owners expand to South Anchorage

    by Heather Hintze on Mar 30, 7:11

    “South” is coming to South Anchorage. That’s the name of a new restaurant from the owners of Snow City Cafe and Spenard Roadhouse. The restaurant not only features a bar and dining room but a separate coffee shop too. There’s also an outdoor patio and a private dining room for pop-up dinners or special events. “We […]

  • Politics

    Senate Judiciary Committee probes spike in Anchorage crime

    by Rhonda McBride on Mar 30, 6:54

    A troubling picture about the surge in Anchorage violence was painted for the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday. The hearing came at the request of the Senate’s Anchorage minority members, but Sen. Lesil McGuire, chairman of the committee and an Anchorage Republican, scheduled it. Sen. Johnny Ellis thanked McGuire for carving out time to shine […]