Avalanche in Alaska - level 3

Avalanche in Alaska - level 3

06-02-2014 06:00

Residents from the town of Valdez in Alaska, which is around 300 miles east of Anchorage, are still cut off from the rest of the state following a series of avalanches over the weekend.

An enormous amount of snow, estimated to be up to 40 feet deep in some places, fell down onto a 50-mile stretch of the Richardson Highway, leaving the town’s 4,000 residents trapped.

It’s expected the highway which is the only road in and out of Valdez will remain blocked for at least a week while rescue crews and ploughs try to clear away some of the snow.

These pictures show the colossal amount of powder that fell onto just one part of the highway.

Authorities say the above freezing temperature, combined with rain and the warmer than normal weather weakened the snowpack, and was likely to have been the trigger for the avalanches.

Bitter cold temperatures and high winds have been surging southwards from the Arctic, pushing wind chills to dangerous levels across other parts of the US.

In the Upper Midwes, Chicago and Minneapolis have had to close schools and drivers have been warned to stay off the roads because of dangerous driving conditions.

Difficult words: stretch (part), plough (vehicle used for pushing snow off roads), colossal (extremely large), powder (dry newly fallen snow), snowpack (quantity of snow that has become massed together), bitter cold (very cold), surge (move powerfully), wind chill (cooling effect of wind).

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