Flood watch in effect.
Town officials in Valdez, a port city some 300 miles west of Anchorage, have cautioned residents to prepare to hunker down for at least a week as crews work to clear a pile of snow hundreds of feet wide from Richardson Highway.
Two major avalanches blocked the only road leading into the city of 4,000 people, cutting residents off from road travel in and out for at least a week, authorities said.
The giant ice swath was estimated to be up to 40 feet (12.2 m) deep in places.
On Monday, the National Weather Service in Anchorage issued a flash flood watch for Valdez due to a “large backup of water” that gathered behind the “avalanche dam.”
Highway access to the city at the end of the trans-Alaska pipeline has been cut off indefinitely by avalanches, including one that dammed a river and created a lake up to a half-mile long across the roadway in a 300-foot wide mountain canyon.
Coffey estimated snow is piled 100 feet high on the Lowe River and up to 50 feet high on the highway.
See also: “Avalanches cut off only road to Alaska city”
Thanks to Anthony Scalziand, Stephen Potter and Marcus Muraca for these links
“Valdez has been cut off!” says Marcus. “Fortunately, it appears the oil will still flow. We could have a west coast shortage if the pipeline gets shut down.”