Barrow digs out from brutal weekend storm

Posted: Tuesday, October 08, 2002

BARROW (AP) -- Barrow residents were recovering Monday from a brutal weekend storm while bracing for another, weaker, system expected to arrive Tuesday.

The storm brought 49-mile-an-hour winds to the coastal town on Sunday and Saturday. It also brought 15-foot waves crashing to shore, cutting in to coastal roads and eroding shorelines and gravel sea walls.

Some coastal roads were shut down, KBRW radio reported.

Work crews with the North Slope Borough Department of Municipal Services were out all weekend to rebuild sea walls and try to keep coastal roads open. But their efforts were thwarted by the huge waves, which struck sea walls down as soon as they went up.

Winds had greatly diminished by Monday, clocking in at 13 mph at about 4 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. Waves had calmed to 5-foot swells.

A large expanse of open water is one of the factors behind the strong storm, the weather service.

The distance from Barrow to the edge of the ice pack is 200 miles to 300 miles, said NWS meteorological technician Jim Sweet. He said such a large area of open water allows plenty of room for waves to build.

''That's a lot of distance for this time of year,'' Sweet said. ''It is very unusual.''

Sweet said a smaller storm was heading to Barrow and would probably arrive sometime Tuesday.

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