U.S. News


4,000 People In Alaska Town Trapped By Avalanche

It is currently impossible to visit Valdez, Alaska, by car. Two avalanches have blocked the only highway going in and out of the city.
Posted at 3:20 PM, Jan 27, 2014

Some 4,000 residents of Valdez, Alaska, are trapped after two avalanches blocked the only highway leading in and out of the city. 

"That road could remain closed for at least a week. Some residents are under a voluntary evacuation advisory due to the avalanche threat." (Via WPEC

HLN reports there's enough gas and heating to last the residents awhile, and food and other supplies are being brought in on barges.

Reports indicate the cleanup process has been stalled due to fear of another avalanche, but KTVA says crews have made some progress. 

"A helicopter company dropped explosives on the slide yesterday to create another avalanche. This will stabilize the area and make it safer for DOT crews to get in and start cleaning up."

Richardson Highway is covered in snow and ice up to 30 feet deep. KTUU says more blasting has to be done before the roads can be cleared. One longtime resident even said she had never seen avalanches of this magnitude. 

"Something the city of Valdez says, that their officials there, is unprecedented, even for a community used to avalanches. The 50-mile stretch of the road on the Richardson Highway is closed from mile post 12 to 64." (Via KTUU)

According to the city's website, it is "aggressively" working to increase ferry traffic. The airport has also remained open. (Via City of Valdez, Alaska)

So far, no injuries have been reported.