The remnants of Typhoon Merbok caused widespread flooding in coastal areas of western Alaska, USA, from 17 September 2022. Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy issued a disaster declaration in response to what he called an “unprecedented storm”.
“The storm hitting the coastal regions of western Alaska is unprecedented, and I want every Alaskan impacted by the storm to know that the State is working around the clock to protect Alaskans, and once the storm passes, to rebuild essential infrastructure and make our coastal communities whole again,” said Governor Dunleavy.
In his statement, the governor said extreme winds crashing waves and coastal sea surge have impacted numerous communities along 1,000 miles (1,609 km) of the Alaska coastline. Hooper Bay, Scammon Bay, Golovin, Newtok and Nome are among the worst affected areas, the governor added. A child reported missing in the storm in Hooper Bay was found safe.
The disaster declaration activates the State Emergency Operations Plan, bringing together a statewide coordinated response to communities impacted by the storm.
The State Emergency Operation Center (SEOC) has received multiple reports of flooded homes, roads and airports, along with power outages and infrastructure damage. Communities, having activated their emergency response plans prior to the storm, took steps to prepare. They are now actively engaged in response operations, including sheltering support for displaced residents.
Strong winds with gusts of over 110 km/h caused a storm surge that flooded coastal communities, including Golovin where around 170 people evacuated their homes, and in Hooper Bay where 250 people evacuated. One house was destroyed in Nome. As of 18 September, no injuries or deaths were immediately reported. However, state officials said the full impact of this storm will not be known for several days.
As of late 18 September the storm was settling over the Chukchi Sea. “It is not anticipated that we will continue to see high winds and dangerous coastal sea surges along the Alaska coast,” the governor said.