Storm Events Database

Event Details

Event High Wind
Magnitude 53 kts.
NCDC Data Source PDS
Begin Date 2004-10-18 14:53:00.0 AST
End Date 2004-10-18 20:53:00.0 AST
Deaths Direct/Indirect 0/0 (fatality details below, when available...)
Injuries Direct/Indirect 0/0
Property Damage
Crop Damage
Episode Narrative A low pressure center of 978 mb moved north over the central Aleutians on the evening of the 17th and deepened to 941 mb as it reached the Gulf of Anadyr the evening of the 18th, about 400 miles west of Nome. The great deepening of the storm was due to in influx of moisture from an ex-typhoon east of Japan (though the ex-typhoon itself continued east across the north Pacific) and then the cold air around an upper level circulation of Far East Russia moving southeast into the low. On the 19th the storm began to slowly fill and decelerate, to 980 mb on the evening of the 20th 400 miles west of Kotzebue. The circulation around this storm covered western Alaska with 50 to 80 mph winds and was comparable or stronger than the November 1974 storm, though this current storm moved quicker over the Bering Sea and was located farther west than the 1974 storm. Nonetheless, a significant and damaging storm surge accompanied this storm in addition to high winds:

High Winds were reported at:

Zone 201: Cape Lisburne AWOS gusts to 61 knots (70 mph).

Zone 207:Shishmaref estimated 61 knots (70 mph). Kivalina AWOS highest gust was 51 knots (59 mph).

Zone 208: Red Dog Mine observed 67 knots (77 mph) but on the morning of the 19th the observer noted that the wind sensor readout displayed a maximum of 99 knots (114 mph). This latter value is unconfirmed. Noatak AWOS highest gust 51 knots (59 mph).

Zone 209: Kotzebue ASOS peak gusts 53 knots (61 mph).

Zone 210: Remote Automated Weather Station Hoodoo Hill peak gust 59 knots (68 mph); Also UAF Water and Environmental Research Center meteorological platforms at: Skookum Pass 61 knots (70 mph); and Kigluaik Mountains 51 knots (59 mph).

Zone 211: Golovin AWOS highest gust 52 knots (60 mph). Additionally Nome ASOS reported peak gust 51 knots (59 mph), and Unalakleet AWOS (zone 212) peak gust 45 knots (52 mph).

Zone 213: Tin City AWOS peak gusts 62 knots (71 mph); Savoonga AWOS peak gust 61 knots (70 mph); Gambell AWOS not reporting.

Zone 217: Shungnak, Easterly wind gusts estimated by school staff at 52 knots (60 mph).

Zone 225 - Healy weather observer: gusts to 55 knots (63 mph). Just west of the zone, Mystic Lake reported gust to 52 knots (60 mph) at 1830 LST. In zone 226, the US Army Mesonet site OP10A reported a gust to 51 knots (59 mph).

Strong winds were reported at:

Zone 214: Mountain Village two public buildings (City office and a clinic) had portions of their roof damaged. Emmonak and Saint Marys AWOS stations reported gusts to 44 knots (51 mph).

Coastal Flooding reported at:

Zone 207:Shishmaref, with surge height of 10-12 ft. Kivalina surge height unknown though estimated at 8 to10 feet.

Zone 211: Nome and Golovin. Surge height was 10.45 ft at Nome, the November 1974 storm produced a 10 ft rise in ocean level.

Zone 212:Koyuk, Unalakleet, Stebbins, St. Michael.

Zone 213: Wales with surge height estimated at 6 to 8 feet, Teller, and Diomede City.

Zone 214: Alakanuk, Kotlik, surge heights unknown.


Zone 209 Kotzebue: water rose to within 1.5 feet for front street. Because winds were creating off-shore-traveling waves, no erosion from wave action was observed.

Zone 210: Deering had some high water, but no damage.

Heavy Snow reported at:

Zone 218 - Coldfoot: State of Alaska D.O.T. Camp reported 6 inches of new snow at 3pm by the afternoon of the 19th. Total amount was less than 7 inches. Snow estimated to begin at 0100 AST.

Damages: The total estimate as of December 2004 is about 20 million dollars, however this may be conservative and also includes some costs to villages outside of Northern Alaska. Breakdowns per village were not accessible, though some individual amounts are noted. The city of Nome sustained the bulk of the damage amount.

Zone 207:

Shishmaref: Several families were temporarily evacuated. Power poles and lines damaged. A local bridge may have had the abutments weakened by the storm surge. School project wind generator damaged. Erosion of beach up to teacher housing and Voc-Ed unit. Cost to replace material eroded is $250K, plus an estimated other costs of $50K(labor). Road to the landfill was damaged.

Kivalina: Power Poles and lines damaged. Drainfield for washateria has been destroyed and washateria thus leaked raw sewage. The School Principal's housing unit (trailer) had soil eroded underneath about 5-6 feet from the ocean side.

Zone 209:

Kotzebue: Water rose to within 1 ½ feet of Front Street, up the concrete revetment. Wind waves were out of the east and thus wave energy was offshore, otherwise Front Street would have flooded. Radio Station KOTZ Tower supports were partially damaged. Several other structures around town sustained some minor wind damage, including NWS Upper Air Inflation Building which caused the cancellation of four sequential radiosonde launches (4am and 4pm) during the 19th and 20th.

Zone 210:

Deering: flooding of the road between the community and the airport.

Buckland: Approximately six Electric Poles leaning; estimate cost is $22,000.00

White Mountain: No damages.

Zone 211:

Nome: 45 Individuals temporarily evacuated in Nome during the height of the storm surge. 13 residences were affected by the storm. % residences were evacuated directly due to the coastal flooding. While the other residences, located near Front Street, were evacuated due to a combination of loss of electrical power and due to leakage of propane gas from three (3) businesses, as the valves broke on their 1000 pound propane tanks. The storm surge cut the Nome-Council Road at Mile 22 resulting in the isolation of approximately ten (10) occupied residences in the Council area. In Nome, five homes reported minor damage and eight homes reported major damage. Multiple businesses in Nome also report damage. The State building was damaged by ocean flooding. The historic Cape Nome Road House, located at the site of Fort Davis on the Nome-Council Highway, sustained some storm-related damage. Power lines damaged at Nome. Water Treatment System had minor structural damage. Some roadways received major damage. Seawall protecting the harbor damaged, parts of a jetty east of Nome was washed away and most of the dock at the jetty was destroyed.

Golovin: Damages to the washateria, the drain field, new power plant and new clinic (all were in the process of new construction). The high ocean water lifted up several three old and unused fuel tanks along with two Connex trailers and floated them away. The school's septic system was rendered unusable - cost to repair $2.3K

Zone 212:

St. Michaels: several families were temporarily evacuated. Seven short access roads to the beach were damaged, mainly to boat launches. Power poles and lines damaged. Utilidor damaged.

Koyuk: a privately owned warehouse is reported to have been destroyed. Public facilities: 1. Portion of village Front Avenue adjacent to Koyuk River destroyed. 2. New Fuel Line Header required emergency protective measure during storm. This facility was under construction at the time of the disaster. Native Organization: Two Youth Camp structures washed across the river and deposited on the other bank approximately 2000 feet away. The community telephone line was cut when digging to reach the underground water line shut-off valve. They were digging to prevent contamination to their community's water source. A Reindeer corral was damaged, and 35 sheets of plywood for the fence were washed away. Several snowmobiles damaged by waves and sand. A nearby public use cabin was damaged.

Unalakleet: Some road gabion baskets damaged; they were reported to have dropped ten feet. Power poles and lines damaged.

Shaktoolik: Power poles and lines damaged. 2800 feet of fuel line damaged, which ran along the beach between the fuel tank farm and the school/public buildings; $115K plus other costs of $34K (labor). Damage to the fence and embankment for the school septic system. Water storage tank for the city incurred wind damage to metal sheathing and insulation. A public use cabin (on Iditarod Trail) about 10 miles from town was displaced and damaged by the storm.

Elim: Major damage to road to Moses Point for 4.3 miles. Road in town damaged. Community septic tank and the sewage outfall line exposed. Power poles and lines damaged.

Stebbins: No damage to structures but some erosion problems and road damages. Individuals may have lost some items. Some people from Stebbins evacuated to St. Michael during the storm.

Zone 213:

Diomede: Power poles and lines damaged. Fuel line broken.

Savoonga: Power poles and lines damaged.

Brevig Mission: at a subsistence fish camp across the bay, a shack was damaged and several snowmobiles, parked on higher ground (not on the beach) were swamped with ocean water and covered with sand or small gravel, rendering them unusable.

Wales: Wind blew off a portion of a roof from an Alaska Village Electric Corporation (AVEC) facility, as well as from a private residence. A guardrail from another home was also lost. At the village clinic, the fuel line was ruptured when the metal support for the fuel line running from the tank to the building toppled over in the wind. This spilled about 300 gallons of fuel. One of the two wind generators of the village was damaged. Ocean water rose about 6 to 8 feet, and reached an outbuilding of the school, damaging the skirting along the bottom of the structure, but the structure otherwise was intact. Gravel and insulation over the school's septic tank and leach field damaged and removed by wave and wind action. Two snowmachines belonging to the school were damaged from the combined effects of water and wind-blown sand. Total School damages $8.4K. At the Water plant sewage leach field gravel and insulation was eroded away and septic tank possibly affected. At the Community Center sewage leach field, gravel and insulation was eroded away. Septic tank possibly affected. Road damage at the south end of the village. There was soil erosion due to wind at the cemetery; Caskets are exposed. Wind damage to fence around the dump site by the airport.

Teller: At the School, the basement building was flooded, damaging materials stored there. Three Connex containers of new furniture were flooded, damaging the furniture. The sewage lagoon was flooded, which had to be pumped down. Estimated costs for repair/replacement $8K. Two roads were damaged: Grantley Avenue and Whale Street.

Zone 214:

Mountain Village: Major damage to the roof of a city building. Clinic roof damaged. Total costs $10,000.

Alakanuk, Emmonak: Power poles and lines damaged.

Kotlik: Ocean water rose two to three feet and floated Boardwalks off their supports. Water and waves damaged the school's skirting and eroded the gravel around the foundation. This in turn exposed insulation covering permafrost ground and water pipes and insulation to the school building itself.

Nunam Iqua: Boardwalks were damaged and water pipeline serving the village's water needs was damaged; holding tank was emptied by early December creating a water crisis due to lack of fresh water.

Scammon Bay: Several roads were damaged.

Zone 217:

Kiana: Power poles and lines damaged.

Shungnak: Minor roof damage to home; Living room window of a residence broken from airborne lumber debris. Trees blown over on exposed hill, metal chimneys on roofs toppled.


All events for this episode:

Location County/Zone St. Date Time T.Z. Type Mag Dth Inj PrD CrD
Totals: 0 0 19.910M 0.00K
ST LAWRENCE IS. BERING STRAIT ... ST LAWRENCE IS. BERING STRAIT ... AK 10/18/2004 11:16 AST High Wind 62 kts. MG 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
BALDWIN PEN. & SELAWIK VALLEY ... BALDWIN PEN. & SELAWIK VALLEY ... AK 10/18/2004 14:53 AST High Wind 53 kts. MG 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
CHUKCHI SEA COAST (ZONE) CHUKCHI SEA COAST (ZONE) AK 10/18/2004 15:00 AST High Wind 61 kts. EG 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
YUKON DELTA (ZONE) YUKON DELTA (ZONE) AK 10/18/2004 16:00 AST Strong Wind 44 kts. MG 0 0 10.00K 0.00K
SRN SEWARD PENINSULA COAST (ZO... SRN SEWARD PENINSULA COAST (ZO... AK 10/18/2004 18:20 AST High Wind 52 kts. MG 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
ST LAWRENCE IS. BERING STRAIT ... ST LAWRENCE IS. BERING STRAIT ... AK 10/18/2004 19:00 AST Storm Surge/tide 0 0 500.00K 0.00K
CHUKCHI SEA COAST (ZONE) CHUKCHI SEA COAST (ZONE) AK 10/18/2004 19:00 AST Storm Surge/tide 0 0 500.00K 0.00K
LOWER KOBUK & NOATAK VALLEYS (... LOWER KOBUK & NOATAK VALLEYS (... AK 10/18/2004 19:00 AST High Wind 67 kts. MG 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
NRN & INTR. SEWARD PENINSULA (... NRN & INTR. SEWARD PENINSULA (... AK 10/18/2004 19:49 AST High Wind 61 kts. MG 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
YUKON DELTA (ZONE) YUKON DELTA (ZONE) AK 10/18/2004 20:00 AST Storm Surge/tide 0 0 200.00K 0.00K
DENALI (ZONE) DENALI (ZONE) AK 10/18/2004 21:51 AST High Wind 55 kts. MG 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
UPPER KOBUK AND NOATAK VLYS (Z... UPPER KOBUK AND NOATAK VLYS (Z... AK 10/18/2004 22:00 AST High Wind 52 kts. EG 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
WESTERN ARCTIC COAST (ZONE) WESTERN ARCTIC COAST (ZONE) AK 10/18/2004 22:55 AST High Wind 61 kts. MG 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
SRN SEWARD PENINSULA COAST (ZO... SRN SEWARD PENINSULA COAST (ZO... AK 10/19/2004 02:00 AST Storm Surge/tide 0 0 14.000M 0.00K
ERN NORTON SOUND NULATO HILLS ... ERN NORTON SOUND NULATO HILLS ... AK 10/19/2004 05:00 AST Storm Surge/tide 0 0 4.700M 0.00K
UPPER KOYUKUK VALLEY (ZONE) UPPER KOYUKUK VALLEY (ZONE) AK 10/19/2004 15:00 AST Heavy Snow 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
Totals: 0 0 19.910M 0.00K