December 3, 2020

Alaska town tries to dig out from huge snow dump

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Dozens of National Guard troops have arrived to help an Alaska fishing town dig out from massive snows that have collapsed roofs, trapped some people in homes, and triggered avalanches.

Cordova is used to snow, but not like this season’s blanketing.

The Guard reported more than 18 feet of snow has fallen in the past weeks, although the National Weather Service did not immediately have a measurement.

“There’s nowhere to go with the snow because it’s piled up so high,” said Wendy Rainney, who owns the Orca Adventure Lodge. A storage building for the lodge — which offers fishing trips, hiking, kayaking and glacier tours — partially collapsed under the weight of the snow, she said.

“This is more quantity than can be handled.”

Officials said at least three buildings have collapsed or partially collapsed and six homes are deemed severely stressed by heavy wet snow.

The city has set up a shelter at a local recreation center, but said people leaving homes in avalanche-risky areas have been staying with other residents. Cordova spokesman Allen Marquette said the town also was ready to set up a pet shelter if necessary.

“We had no alternative but to declare an emergency,” Cordova Mayor Jim Kallander said. “It became a life-safety issue.”

 

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