Alaska residents fled the coastal areas Wednesday as the largest storm to hit the state in 40 years slammed communities with hurricane-force winds, heavy snows and torrential downpours.
"It's barely beginning to wind down along the coast," said Stephen Kearney, a meteorologist for the Weather Service in Fairbanks, to the Associated Press.
Officials warned the storm could cause significant flooding as sea levels rise. It is unclear how much flooding and damage occurred in the state.
Coastal communities in the state, such as Nome and Point Hope, reported significant flooding with waters reaching the city limits.
With the rain and snow came, gusting winds reached 85 mph, according to reports. The storm moved across the state, as the winds remained steady at more than 50 mph.
The National Weather Service issued winter weather advisories for Anchorage. As the storm rolls across the state, it is expected to drop up to 8 inches of snow on the city while maintaining whipping winds in the western coastal communities.
It is unclear how much damage occurred in the state. Flooding and some structural damage were reported.
Power across the state was largely uninterrupted, and damage was limited to wind-related structural issues, including roofs being ripped from homes and debris hitting homes.
Waters and storm surges were reported to launch large rocks, causing some damage in coastal areas.
"These objects would cause injury to any person that was struck," said Nome’s emergency managers in a written statement.
Costal communities, however, were spared large storm surges as winds reportedly blew much of the water parallel to the land, rather than directly inland, according to reports.
"This is a storm of epic proportions," said Jeff Osiensky, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, to the AP. "We're not out of the woods with this."
Snow and winds strike Nome, Alaska in the video below: