Western Alaska to expect second storm as Merbok cleanup continues

Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 9:17 AM AKDT|Updated: Oct. 6, 2022 at 9:35 AM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Three weeks ago, remnants of Typhoon Merbok battered Western Alaska causing raised water levels and widespread damage.

As work continues to provide help to the communities that need it, a second storm is expected in Western Alaska.

In a press conference on Wednesday, October 5, Governor Mike Dunleavy discussed aid efforts, which include the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Red Cross.

Drinking water, salmon, and building supplies continue to make their way to communities across the region.

The state has received 450 applications for individual assistance, and FEMA has distributed nearly $800 thousand in individual aid so far.

Since the event, 123 homes have been identified as having major damage, with 15 homes destroyed. “This is all in the storm path from the last storm that occurred a couple weeks ago. Priority is to get these homes buttoned up and safe for winter, and ensure everyone has a place to live. As we mentioned, this is not like the lower 48. We have freeze-up here in Alaska that’s pretty predictable, and that usually starts to set in in Western and Northern Alaska sometime in mid-October.”

Those affected by the September storm are being encouraged to apply for both state and federal assistance.

Meanwhile, a second storm front is heading towards Western Alaska, this one coming from Russia.

The front is expected to have its greatest impact between Point Lay and Point Hope, with high winds and flooding expected.

Water levels along the affected coastlines will likely rise by between three and seven feet, according to the National Weather Service.

Hitting the Chukchi Sea by Wednesday and lasting until Friday, October 7, the storm is predicted to bring a front of warm air and rain, with snow following when temperatures drop after the storm.

David Kramer, National Weather Service said, “It’s actually intensifying in strength as it approaches Wrangell Island.”

“This storm is unique in that it is going to continue to get stronger as it moves into the western portions of the Chukchi Sea, so for that area for this time of year, this will be one of the strongest storms that we have seen. Our record goes back to 1950 and this will be pushing some of those boundaries,” Kramer added.