On Tuesday, state officials in Alaska closed the Seward Highway, the only highway heading out of Anchorage, Alaska. The highway was closed because of the dangers from blowing snow and avalanches. Doing so has caused the isolation of two small communities of the Prince William Sound, which is a port town of Whittier, and Girdwood, a ski resort. They have also had to close the Whittier Tunnel. This is an alternate passage that is used by the Alaska Railroad trains and cars.
They were closed not only from the danger but also because of the avalanche-control work and the fact two avalanches have already occurred along the highway. When the avalanche and weather conditions allow it, they will reopen the highway and tunnel. There have been no reported injuries from the avalanches.
Girdwood is a community of approximately two thousand residents and home to the Alyeska Resort, where the trails and ski lifts were forced to close because of high winds. School bus service has also been cancelled. Stranded travelers are taking refuge in the ski resort hotel.
In addition, other Alaskan communities have been affected by this massive snowstorm, including the one that hit on Tuesday. In Cordova they have already been hit with eighteen feet of snow and the storm on Tuesday deposited another six to fourteen inches. This Tuesday storm was accompanied by high winds and rain.
In Valdez, Alaska, they are on track to set a record snowfall this winter with another foot of snow expected through Wednesday.