Heavy blowing snow and freezing rain have made traveling to and from some western Alaskan communities difficult since Wednesday night. All flights to and from Nome were canceled on Thursday (1/11) because of low visibility.
Joe Kryston is a lead meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Fairbanks. He said this is a harsh storm, but nothing residents aren’t used to.
“The local communities are pretty resilient. This one is run of the mill, strong winds, like 50 [to] 60 miles an hour.”
Kryston said winter storms don’t usually cause coastal flooding because sea ice acts as a buffer. He said larger storms can become more frequent and destructive in the future depending on if the sea ice forms in time.
He said, each year, the region sees about five storms that cause coastal flooding.
“This year has been fairly active. Shishmaref received some coastal erosion in November. But in September 2022, we had a big impactful storm, Typhoon Merbok. And that was an unusually strong storm for September in the last 50 years.”
According to the latest warning, the region could see an additional eight inches of snow and minimal ice accumulations though tomorrow afternoon (01/13), with periods of freezing rain throughout the day.
For the most current weather updates, visit the National Weather Service website or visit their social media.
Photo at top: Snow drifts made it impossible for some residents in Nome to leave their homes on Friday morning. (Arielle Willis/ KNOM)