A warm winter storm leads to sea ice loss and flooding of homes in Western Alaska. "Damage to the foundation of the homes is all I think happened, besides wet clothing and a few things on the floor."
Observation by Philomena Keyes:
Had a flood mid-winter that covered parts of our community and entered couple homes. This was a winter storm with high winds. Damage to the foundation of the homes is all I think happened, besides wet clothing and a few things on the floor. These were reported by the Tribe already.
Rick Thoman, Climate Scientist at the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy, writes:
Following colder weather during December and the first half of January, a persistently stormy pattern returned to western Alaska the last week of January and continued for several weeks. The milder temperatures and sustained south to southeast winds greatly reduced overall Bering Sea ice extent and created persistent areas of open water or low concentration ice on the north side of St. Lawrence Island, southern and eastern Norton Sound, the northern Seward Peninsula coast and southern Kotzebue Sound. A particularly strong storm moved moved across the northern Bering Sea and then into northwest Alaska February 11-12th. This storm produced widespread wind gusts in excess of 50 mph over much of the region from Nome eastward. With all the open water, these strong winds produced a measured storm surge of about 10 feet at Unalakleet. This unprecedented high water for this time of year backed up into the Yukon River and produced the observed flooding at Kotik.
Flood Water in the Community
Flood Water Around Houses
Surface Weather Chart for February 12, 2019
Rick Thoman, with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy
10 Feb 2019 / Satellite imagery from NASA