FAIRBANKS, Alaska — An avalanche closed a section of highway near Thompson Pass.

A winter storm with extreme snowfall hit south of the Alaska Range on Wednesday, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported . State Department of Transportation officials said 15 inches (38 centimeters) of snow fell in 90 minutes in Valdez, Alaska.

The avalanche closed Richardson Highway between Miles 12-42. It is about 200 feet (61 meters) long and (6 meters) deep at Mile 39.

The avalanche has slowed the highway to the point where a drive that normally takes 15 minutes in Tazlina took nearly an hour Wednesday morning, state transportation officials said.

The storm is accompanied by unseasonably warm temperatures with rain and wet snow mixing, creating icy surfaces.

Power outages have been reported in the Copper River area and local schools are closed.

Another weather front is expected Thursday, which could bring additional heavy snow to Thompson Pass and snow and rain to Valdez.


Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

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