Weather

Road to Valdez reopened after avalanche

The Richardson Highway reopened Thursday evening after crews cleared an avalanche that had blocked the only road to Valdez earlier this week.

At 5:30 p.m., the road was open from Mile 12 to Mile 55, which had been blocked off after a 200-foot-long avalanche covered a section of the road, according to the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

Driving conditions Thursday were "very difficult," DOT said in a written statement. "Heavy snow, mixed with rain, is causing ice to form on the road."

A snowstorm had swept through the area, dumping 45 inches of snow on Thompson Pass overnight Wednesday.

In the previous five days, 76 inches of snow — more than 6 feet — had fallen on Thompson Pass, the National Weather Service Alaska Region said in a Facebook post.

Another 2 feet of snow was forecast to dump on the pass through Friday.

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