These windy conditions have started to negatively impact sea ice coverage in the Bering Strait. Based on satellite imagery and observations from residents across the region, more open water has started to appear along coastlines and thicker ice has been pushed around, climatologist Rick Thoman said. He noted that sea ice conditions are drastically different in the Bering Strait than they were five days ago.
The City of Unalakleet now has a working generator to power its local water plant, but the community plans to be on a boil water notice for an extended period of time.
Late last week a strong Bering Sea storm hit the region, bringing winds up to 50mph, blowing snow, and high-water. Some communities saw significant erosion while others were mostly unscathed.
For the second year in a row, dead seabirds are washing up on beaches throughout the region by the hundreds. The birds appear to be starving, but scientists say the story is more complicated.
Earlier this week, a pod of about nine Bowhead whales were seen off the northern coast of Savoonga but young ice conditions around St. Lawrence Island prevented hunting. If local hunters hauled a whale out onto young ice, it would break apart.
The commercial Silver harvest in the Norton Sound yielded the lowest numbers since 2002.This trend follows suit from last year as well, which yielded far less than projected. The run was “very poor,” Menard said. The preliminary catch was 7,100 Silvers. That’s less than half caught in the commercial fishery last year.
The main Bering Sea ice pack has begun its retreat to the north after extending to the Pribilofs earlier this month. This winter’s freeze-up has been reminiscent of more historical sea ice conditions.
March brought a series of storms across the Seward Peninsula, and in one Bering Strait community that meant a series of power outages. The storms are stronger than residents recall in the past.
Several communities in the Norton Sound are struggling with contaminated drinking water days after the significant September storm hit the region.
GOLOVIN RESIDENTS ARE IN CLEANUP MODE as their community works to restore power, phone service and clear debris. After the flood waters receded from the weekend’s severe fall storm, some locals are left with feet of sand in their homes. “At my place we’ve got three feet of sand we’re still shoveling out with the crew here, trying to get the sand out of the living area so we can get the sheetrock to go ahead and dry off,” Alaska Senator Donny Olson of Golovin said.
Heavy rain and coastal flood warnings threatened boats near Kotzebue, caused flooding at the old shipyard in St. Michael, and brought high water to the Eastern Norton Sound as well as several rivers near Nome.
The head of Alaska’s Wildlife Disease and Health Surveillance Program confirms that the City of Nome has a higher than normal case count of rabies in the red fox population. Usually in winter, most of the cases come from Prudhoe Bay and Utqiagvik. This winter most of the cases are from Nome, as well as from Kivalina and other villages around Kotzebue.
Unalakleet’s supply of water was running on empty following a nasty freeze-up at the end of December. Freezing rain led to a frozen pool of standing water that shifted the community’s pump house before the New Year. This dropped the flow of water into the water tank and levels were down to two feet earlier the first week of January.
Yesterday, damaging high wind in Unalakleet sent debris flying into high voltage power lines, knocking out electricity for half of the village. After roughly nine hours, electricity was restored to…
Sea ice extent in the Bering Sea was at record low levels at the end of 2020. And with recent strong northerly winds combined with mild temperatures, sea ice coverage in the Bering Strait region is still not ideal.
Similar to the last storm that hit the region earlier this month, there is hardly any sea ice in the Bering Sea to minimize the damage to coastal areas.
Coastal seabirds have experienced significant die-offs in Western Alaska the past few years. But recent results suggest that offshore birds are also feeling the impact of low ice and warming ocean temperatures in the Bering Sea.