Village of Golovin inundated by flood waters

Haugon hopped on a plane and flew out to her hometown of Golovin to help her father who had to evacuate during the storm.
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 8:58 PM AKDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2022 at 9:22 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The storm that slammed into the west coast of Alaska brought hissing winds and rain that pelted the villages onshore.

“It was an angry storm, it was angrier than angry,” one resident said.

Villages like Golovin were hit hard as water rushed into buildings faster than some residents could believe. They watched as their beloved home turned into a village surrounded by the sea.

“It just took minutes,” said Carol Oliver, a lifelong resident of Golovin.

“The water moved so fast, our town was covered in sand that got pushed up by the waves.”

The force of the water even ripped some houses right off their foundations, leaving debris where they once stood.

“It’s pretty sad, it’s shocking to see what the water can do,” Oliver said.

The intense flooding inundated houses and the surrounding streets.

“I’m actually outside my dad’s house right now in a canoe,” said Season Haugen during a video call. “You have to get to his house, it’s all surrounded by water.”

Haugen grew up in Golovin but is currently living in Nome with her boyfriend and children. Her family hunkered down safely in their home, but on Monday Haugen hopped on a plane back to her hometown. Her father had to evacuate during the storm, and his home sustained damage.

“The inside of his house was full of mud,” Haugen said. “We started to clean up the floor right away, trying to sweep it up but we had to use wipes and a broom.”

Things look different in the village now. The neighborhood she once played in has now been rearranged by the storm. Haugen pointed out three other houses around her father’s neighborhood that were displaced.

“Here’s the house, that’s right next to my dad’s house,” Haugen said on video call. “So, right here is the shop, right here is the house. This house is supposed to be more over here.”

“That’s a house that’s not supposed to be there. That’s right on the road,” Haugen said.

Many residents of Golovin are still displaced and feel adrift in a sea of debris.

“We thought our town was a pretty clean town until the flood hit and moved everything. Everything and anything,” Oliver said.

Now that wind and rain have subsided, residents are starting to see the extent of the damage and start the work of piecing together what remains of their homes.

“A lot of homes are going to have to rip out the flooring, furniture and we are worried about the boiler and heating,” Oliver said.

However, Tuesday saw a milestone moment for the community’s recovery: the once-covered village road is slowly emerging from beneath the floodwaters.

“They have some pumps over there, pumping out the water and it’s actually really helping cause it went down a couple feet already.”

Full recovery from this massive storm will be a long process for Golovin, which remains under a high surf advisory that goes into effect at midnight Tuesday until Thursday around noon.