Storms have undercut houses in Shishmaref
Source: Shishmaref Relocation Coalition
It’s the return of an annual erosion nightmare for Alaskans living in barrier island villages along the Chukchi Sea. Once again, Shishmaref faces another storm with potential to consume more its diminishing beach.
A legacy of the 2007 record meltback of sea ice, a vast expanse of open ocean now stretches for hundreds of miles off Alaska’s Northwest coast. (See the current sea ice analysis.) The relatively warm fall weather has not built shore-fast shelves of ice that could armor the beaches from surf. Add in a 40 mph north gusts and the possibility of 12-foot waves against exposed permafrost of the beach bluffs — and Shishmaref may suffer yet more damage to a sea wall intended to buy time until the village can move to a safer location.
“Everybody’s kind of anxious, but we’ll just have to see what the storm does, I guess,” said Tony Weyiouanna, Shishmaref’s transportation planner, told the Anchorage Daily News in a story published Thursday. “This is supposed to be one of the worst storms so far for this year.”