Winter Storm Blows Out Power From Bethel To Napakiak

Darkness falls over Bethel during a winter storm that caused power outages all over town.
Credit Courtesy of Rick Garcia

Winter storms battered the coast of Western Alaska and made their way up the Kuskokwim River. Some communities, like Hooper Bay, reported some flooding, but little to no damage. In Bethel, linemen were up in the late hours of the night restoring power to much of the town and schools were delayed.

The storms took out the power from Bethel to Napakiak last night. Lenny Welch is the operations manager for the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative. He believes that the storm blew out some fuses, which turned off the power, but they have yet to pinpoint the exact cause. AVEC has restored power to Oscarville and Bethel, but Napakiak is still relying on generators. The village owns the line that connects it to Bethel and is responsible for repairing and inspecting it.

Hooper Bay experienced the brunt of the storm last night. Edgar Smith works in maintanence for the village and said that the storm surges flooded the main road with roughly 3 feet of water. He said that the water came close to the AVEC building, but they still have power and no homes experienced flooding.

Meanwhile, the storm is passing over villages below Hooper Bay. Residents in Toksook Bay indicate flooding is ongoing, but no damage was reported. In Newtok, high waters and rain sunk several boats, but no damage to homes was reported. Coastal villages south of Hooper Bay are under a flood advisory warning, and the National Weather Service says that they will experience very high tides. There’s little sea ice hugging the shoreline, leaving it vulnerable to more erosion