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North Slope Borough Takes Preventative Measures Ahead of Arctic Storm Surges
The North Slope Borough Mayor's office declares an emergency as the area is expecting storm surges upwards of 6 feet.
BARROW - The North Slope Borough Mayor's office declares an emergency as the area is expecting storm surges upwards of 6 feet.
The declaration allows the borough to use funds to prepare for the high water levels.
Crews are currently piling sand bags near critical infrastructure by the shore front including two pump stations for Barrow's water and sewer.
An incident command team is working to build dikes and repair roads to protect power lines running along the coast.
Borough officials say over the past weekend Barrow saw a 4 foot surge of water and it took out some roads and as much as 10-15 feet of shoreline bluff. Tuesday afternoon (10/16) crews were taking into consideration of what preventative measures could be utilized in other areas of town.
"We've also got one area between the lower lagoon and the middle lagoon and we've got our fiber optic and our gas line that runs through there," said Randy Hoffbeck, acting North Slope Borough Mayor.
Long time residents say over the past 6 years the area hasn't had a major fall storm but even so, they had more sea ice to help calm the surge.
"The biggest problem that we have is in the past we would have ice protection by the time the fall storms would come," Hoffbeck said. "Right now we have no ice, I think they said the ice is almost 300 miles out and so we have no shoreline protection from the ice so we're going to get with the full brunt end of it if it comes this way."
Hoffbeck says Barrow residents are expecting a 6 foot storm surge Wednesday, and a secondary storm that can potentially push the storm surges to 8 feet later in the week or by the weekend.