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Western Alaska Weathers Second Storm in a Week

By Samantha Angaiak, Business, Employment and Real Estate Reporter, Weekend Producer, sangaiak@ktuu.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 12:11:46 PM AKST
Updated On: Nov 14 2013 12:20:40 AM AKST

Channel 2's Samantha Angaiak reports from Western Alaska as the second storm in a week bears down on the coast.

KOTLIK -

Rural communities like Kotlik, Scammon Bay and Unalakleet are reeling from a weekend storm that caused flooding and threw ice ashore along the western coast of Alaska.

Another storm hit Wednesday evening.

The village of Kotlik has taken precautionary steps as the second storm bears down.

Residents staged an evacuation of all properties near the banks that already suffered damage.

The water "was still coming up," said Gus Mikeyunak, who was evacuated from his home. "It came up about maybe a couple feet in the past hour."

Rescue teams helped evacuate elders and people who are immobile in anticipation that the water levels could rise too quickly, trapping them inside.

Until the storm passes, the community's school is being used as shelter for those displaced.

Some others chose to spend the night at the school to wait for water levels to drop.

The National Weather Service said flooding could occur through 6 a.m. Thursday, and high tide is expected to peak at 3 a.m.

The weekend storm destroyed several houses and badly damaged the sewage and water systems.

The extent of any further damage should become clear in the morning, but water covered the boardwalk on the north side of town late Wednesday while residents were huddled in the school.

The school's instructional leader, Mike Harris, said the water itself is not causing problems.

"Most of the community members are on edge because of what happened on Saturday night," Harris said. "We can handle the flooding, it's the ice that did so much damage."

Red Cross volunteers plan to deploy to Kotlik Thursday, and the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management previously said it plans to assess the situation after the second has passed.

The State of Alaska has not detailed any plans for a response to the situation.