Avalanche forces closure of section of highway in Alaska

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) – Alaska officials have closed a section of highway near Thompson Pass due to an avalanche.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that a winter storm with extreme snowfall hit south of the Alaska Range on Wednesday. The storm is accompanied by unseasonably warm temperatures with rain and wet snow mixing, creating icy surfaces.

Officials say 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.

The state Department of Transportation says a drive that normally takes 15 minutes in Tazlina took nearly an hour Wednesday morning.

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