State officials say flooding from last week’s Bering Sea storm has done greater damage to local water systems than first realized, adding difficulty to the use of supplies in at least two communities.
Jeremy Zidek, a spokesperson for the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, says Monday that Kotlik’s water and sewer plant as well as its distribution system have suffered damage. While locals have roughly two weeks of stored water in tanks, they’ll have to distribute it directly from the tanks to local homes.
Unalakleet has suffered damage to a water transmission line, which supplies water to its local plant, but Zidek says locals still have untreated water to purify.
While DHSEM officials are working with Kotlik and Unalakleet to restore water service, Zidek says other issues are going well in the region affected by the storm. Neither electrical power grids nor air travel have been degraded by the storm, with no requests for help, injuries or search-and-rescue efforts reported to date.
In a discussion of the Fairbanks-area forecast, National Weather Service meteorologists say a 1,000-nautical-mile fetch -- in which ocean waves are generated by winds -- could generate additional flooding Wednesday night through Thursday.
“This will bring heavy rain to the west coast and western Interior of Alaska (Wednesday) and (Wednesday) night,” forecasters wrote. “This will bring heavy snow and possibly significant freezing rain to the northern and eastern Interior Tuesday night through Thursday.”
According to Channel 2 meteorologist David George, the weather may also see greater activity on Alaska’s southwest coast Friday and into Saturday, before weekend cooling helps dispel storm eyes.
With additional storms entering the area, Zidek says the division will remain in contact with local authorities to assist them with anything which poses an immediate concern.
Channel 2’s Samantha Angaiak contributed to this story