Residents evacuated, extensive flooding reported as massive storm hits coastal Alaska towns

A massive, potentially record-breaking storm brought major flooding and damage to coastal Alaskan towns Saturday morning, prompting the evacuation of some residents.

In the town of Golovin, major flooding was reported early Saturday, according to the National Weather Service, and forecasters warned it would only get worse. The city could see another 1 to 2 feet of water by the end of the day.

“Water surrounds the school, houses and structures are flooded, at least a few homes are floating off their foundations, some older fuel tanks are overturned,” the weather service’s Fairbanks office tweeted.

Pictures from weather service showed the high water level there.

Another town, Shaktoolik, reported coastal flooding, with water “entering the community and coming close to some homes,” according to weather service. The residents there were evacuated to a school and a clinic. Shaktoolik was also expected to see the worst of the storm later in the day.

That weather service also shared footage from a webcam in Unalakleet that compares an average day in town to the scene there Saturday morning.

As of Saturday morning, much of the state’s west coast was under coastal flooding and high wind warnings. The weather service said flood warnings would remain in effect until Sunday night, while wind warnings were expected to expire Saturday night.

Other parts of the state are under gale and storm warnings, according to the weather service.

The center of the storm was located just south of the Bering Strait on Saturday morning, according to the weather service.

The storm is the remnants of Typhoon Merbok, and forecasters predicted this week it could bring “potentially historic” flooding, with some coastal areas seeing water levels up to 11 feet higher than the normal high tide.

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