Sunday, December 04, 2011

Frozen Nome

If you have weekend plans to visit Nome, Alaska, you might want to check the weather report.

What’s being called an epic storm has roared across the Bering Sea, slamming into western Alaska. Nome, on Norton Sound in the Bering Sea, is about 160 miles from the U.S.-Russian border.

A winter storm warning is in effect until 9 p.m. Wednesday, and a coastal flood warning is in effect until 6 p.m., the National Weather Service said. The Associated Press reports that storm surges of up to 10 feet are expected.

In its winter storm warning, the National Weather Service predicts as much as 18 inches of snow with visibility near zero in blizzard conditions. Winds, it notes, will be 50 mph with gusts to 70 mph. “Travel and outdoor activities will be extremely difficult and dangerous,” it said.

Nome, with a population of about 3,600, has been tested repeatedly by man and nature. The area grew up as a result of a gold rush, prompted by the discovery of the glittery metal at Anvil Creek in September 1898. In two years, the population swelled to 20,000, and the city was incorporated in 1901. By 1920, when the easy gold pickings were gone and the area was hit hard by a flu epidemic, fewer than 1,000 souls remained.

Today it largely makes headlines during the Iditarod, the 1,150-mile dog sled race that begins in Anchorage and ends in Nome.

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