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Tuesday
Jan102012

Snow Buries Cities in Alaska

Two Alaska communities are seeking help after an exceptionally harsh winter left one buried in snow and the other iced in and facing a fuel shortage.

Dozens of National Guard members are helping the fishing town of Cordova dig out from mountains of snow that collapsed roofs, triggered avalanches and trapped some people in homes.

More than 10 feet of snow has fallen in the town of 2,000 in the last few weeks.

With high winds, more snow and possibly rain in the forecast, responders and local volunteers Monday were trying to shovel out buildings considered most at risk.

Almost 700 miles to the northwest, the old gold rush town of Nome is awaiting the arrival of a Russian tanker that’s barely inching along in its mission to deliver much-needed fuel.

A Coast Guard vessel is cutting a path in the thick ice of the Bering Sea, but ship crews are encountering challenges that are sometimes forcing the vessels to come to a complete stop.

This winter, almost 15 feet of snow has fallen on Cordova, with a series of bursts that ended with a rain drenching over the weekend that added substantial weight to the snow and slicked the landscape.

The town issued a disaster declaration Friday, prompting the National Guard to send more than 70 troops Sunday. Heavy equipment, including a snow-melting machine, also arrived Sunday to supplement local resources.

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