As the wind and rain raged on on Saturday, a fire destroyed the Bering Sea Bar and Grill along the Nome waterfront and Front Street. Residents of the adjacent building heard several explosions before the restaurant was quickly engulfed in flames. The historic Nugget Inn next door was able to be saved by the Nome Volunteer Fire Department, which razed the restaurant in order to prevent the fire from spreading during the 30-50 mph winds. The explosions may have been propane tanks. It’s unclear if part of the hotel was damaged.
Firefighters from the Nome Fire Department were able to save nearby buildings. Portions of town were without power and internet, including the nearby Nome Visitor Center, which lost its webcam Saturday evening.
Typhoon Merbok cut a fierce path of destruction in many communities in Western Alaska, and places like Golovin, Hooper Bay, and Nome were in the teeth of the massive storm for hours. In Nome, peak water level height was 10.52 feet at around 11 am Alaska Time on Saturday, with water surging onto Front Street and other low-lying areas. The airport was closed. Overnight the circular motion of the storm broke apart and the winds are now coming from the north, bringing colder air to the region.
“We’re going to move as quickly as we can to provide relief, to provide recovery, to provide the essentials that people need, and so we’re taking this very seriously,” said Gov. Mike Dunleavy during an evening press conference. It’s likely that the National Guard will be mobilized to the area to assist the many small communities that have been severely damaged.
Photo from video by unknown.