Alaska Snow Storm

January 11, 2012 by staff 

Alaska Snow StormAlaska Snow Storm, An Alaska community blitzed by nearly 15 feet of snow was hit by another storm Tuesday and a new problem – a shortage of shovels. A spokesman for the city of Cordova said officials had tried Anchorage, Fairbanks and other cities and finally turned to a manufacturer for a special order.

“It’s ironic, isn’t it? The state of Alaska – you’d think they’d be ahead of the game. It’s those logistical things you just don’t plan on, or you don’t think is going to be an issue,” said Allen Marquette by phone from the city on the east side of Prince William Sound.

The snow-weary city of 2,200 was promised new shovels to be manufactured Thursday and delivered two days later – but it will be too late for the “couple more feet” of snow that touched down Tuesday, accompanied by winds of 25 to 40 mph and gusts to 55.

The latest storm hit much of south-central Alaska. Avalanches along the Seward Highway closed the only route south out of Alaska’s largest city, cutting off Anchorage from neighborhoods to the south in Girdwood.

Department of Transportation spokesman Rick Feller said the department followed up with an even larger induced avalanche using explosives fired from a military-style howitzer.

“That showed there was a lot of pent-up energy, and it’s been released,” he said. The highway will remain closed until noon Wednesday.

The storm knocked out power to parts of Homer on the Kenai Peninsula. Drifts accumulated to 7 feet, Feller said, and the city put out an advisory to boat owners that 16 inches of snow could accumulate and boats should be cleared.

KMXT-radio in Kodiak said flights to the island city had been canceled and three boats sank in local harbors from the weight of snow. In Valdez, the terminus of the trans-Alaska pipeline, forecasters issued a blizzard warning through Wednesday afternoon, with winds to 45 mph and accumulations of 9 of 17 inches of snow on the Richardson Highway at Thompson Pass, the road access out of the community.

Cordova, a fishing community famed for wild Copper River salmon, may have been hardest hit. Since Nov. 1, the city has received 176 inches of snow and 44.24 inches of rain, at times increasing the weight of the snow as it piled up to 6 feet high on roofs.

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