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October 1992: Seas surge in fall storm

Whirlpool and seawall

On occasion, Western Alaska is beset with exceptionally strong fall storms. In November 2011, an oversized storm brought standing water on the city side of Nome’s seawall that, as it drained, created a small whirlpool. Photo by Matthew Smith.

October 5, 1992

The worst storm in eighteen years strikes Nome: a low-pressure center swells a storm surge to eight feet above normal, with waves cresting ten feet above that. Covered with flotsam and jetsam, Nome’s main thoroughfare is under water, and where it runs along the beach, half of it is gone. Several roofs blow away. Thanks to KNOM’s emergency generators, the station keeps residents calm and informed. The mission’s facilities are undamaged.