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Extreme weather leads to road closures, poor visibilty

Posted: January 10, 2012 - 10:49am  |  Updated: January 10, 2012 - 6:54pm

The Seward Highway has been closed between Bird and Girdwood by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. The closure will remain in place throughout Tuesday evening. The highway is not expected to reopen until noon on Wednesday at the earliest.

A winter snow storm and two early morning avalanches prompted the closure, according to Alaska DOT&PF. White-out conditions have been reported on the highway with little to no visibility. 

The avalanches occurred in the McHugh Creek area and slide debris have reached the northbound lane of the Seward Highway, DOT said. Similar conditions in Portage Valley have also led to the closure of the Whittier Tunnel. 

Other dangerous conditions are as follows:

  • Anchor Point is estimated to receive 8 to 10 inches of snow with 30 mph winds, snow drifts and poor visibility
  • Seward is expected to receive over 1 foot of snow, 40 mph winds and extreme blizzard conditions
  • Homer is experiencing 60 mph wind gusts, 6 to 7 foot drifts, extreme driving conditions, schools and offices are closed

ADOT advises residents in these areas to avoid driving if at all possible, but if residents are forced to drive they should expect extremely difficult wintertime driving conditions, and should drive cautiously and reduce speeds. 

Updates on road conditions can be found at the 511.alaska.gov website or by dialing 511 from a phone. 

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