Western Alaska is being rocked with a storm, causing widespread power outages in coastal villages and warnings of severe flooding, The New York Times reported.
High winds, with hurricane-like force, and surging waves are hitting the coast Wednesday, forcing some residents of Nome and other villages to evacuate to higher lands, Fox News reported.
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Currently, the city is continuing to prepare for a possible Bering Sea surge at high tide later today. The height of the snow and forceful winds struck Nome at about 2 a.m. last night, Nome Communications officer Zane Brown said, Fox News reported. So far there hasn’t been much damage.
"We do have some reports of buildings losing roofs in the Nome area," said meteorologist Scott Berg at the National Weather Service in Fairbanks, Fox News reported. "Also water at the base of buildings in Nome."
Nome, the largest town on Alaska’s western coast, has 3,600 residents. Its main street was closed due to rock and log debris, and residents were advised to stay off the streets due to live wires from downed power lines, NBC reported. Evacuations were voluntary, but moved most residents from beachfront locations to shelters at a community center and church. But for some villages, evacuations were mandatory, The Times reported.
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The storm surge is expected to reach 9 feet in Nome late Wednesday night, NBC reported.
The National Weather Service described the storm as “extremely dangerous and life-threatening” and of “an epic magnitude rarely experienced,” The Times reported. “All people in the area should take precautions to safeguard their lives and property.”
Alaska’s northwest coast hasn’t seen a storm of this magnitude since 1974, when Nome also took the brunt of it, NBC reported.