Typhoon Merbok struck the western shore of Alaska on Sept. 17, 2022. Due to unusually warm ocean temperatures, Merbok was born near Japan, where typhoons that strike Alaska rarely begin, and propelled eastward to become one of the worst storms on record to hit the state.
As Merbok moved eastward toward Alaska, its waves surpassed 50 feet in the nearby Bering Sea.
Water levels near Nome, Alaska, were 10.52 feet above the low tide line. That height was only surpassed once before, by the worst storm on record in November 1974. However, Merbok was by far the strongest to strike in early autumn.
The storm impacted hundreds of miles of coastline from north of Bristol Bay to just beyond the Bering Strait.
CBS News reported that the storm was vast enough to cover the US mainland from the Pacific Ocean to Nebraska and from Canada to Texas, with effects felt as far away as California.
Alaska’s subsistence economy was especially impacted as evidenced by a lost protective berm in the village of Shaktoolik.
Rebuilding from storms is especially challenging for remote regions of Alaska.