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.

Photo Courtesy: Elizabeth Raza


by Megan Mazurek

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.

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Ronald D Brower said on Wednesday, Oct 17 at 7:09 AM

They sure are not doing anything to protect my home... I went there with my concern and got nowhere.. They put up berms every where all except for he beach in front of my home...

Carolyn George said on Wednesday, Oct 17 at 7:29 AM

Ronald, this looks pretty serious enough to contact your senator and get some action happening! One how old is your home? Is is moveable? I wish you well! Good luck!

Tim Whitehead said on Wednesday, Oct 17 at 1:40 PM

Good Luck, Ronald!! We'll be keeping our fingers crossed that the town powers-that-be get off their duffs and do something to help you!!!

Marilyn Hoffbeck said on Thursday, Oct 18 at 8:22 AM

We're concerned. Let us know what is happening when you have time.

Tim Whitehead said on Saturday, Oct 20 at 7:02 PM

How goes the battle, Ronald? Any luck?

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