High Winds Bring Some Flooding Into Kipnuk

Dec 11, 2019

Credit Courtesy of Google Maps

High winds and warm temperatures caused flooding in Kipnuk in the early hours of Dec. 10. Facebook photos showed water flowing down slushy roads; Kipnuk sits three miles from the Bering Sea coast.

Tribal administrator Sam Amik said that the winds reached as high as 60 miles per hour, but the flooding was gone by the time he got back to work in the morning. He said that he didn’t hear of any damage, but that the weather has not been normal for this time of year.

"It feels like it’s warm and a lot of high winds, I think even more than usual a year before," Amik said.

This has become the new norm across the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. Late winters and sudden thawing have turned roads into slush and made rivers and sloughs, which are necessary for travel, less safe because they take longer to freeze.

There have been reports of little to no sea ice on the Bering Sea coast, which means less protection for coastal villages when winter storms pop up. Coastal villages like Kotlik and Hooper Bay experienced flooding earlier this month after a winter storm. The National Weather Service shows that Kipnuk could expect temperatures to reach as high as the low 30s for the rest of the week.