Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Snowed-in town makes plea for help

A man stands on a house almost buried in snow in the fishing town of Cordova, Alaska (AP)
A house is almost buried in heavy snow in Cordova, Alaska, where residents have turned to the state for help (AP)
Two people work to clear snow from the roof of the Cordova volunteer fire station in Alaska (AP)

The small Alaska fishing town of Cordova is used to dealing with excessive weather, but residents have been forced to ask for help to dig their way out of massive snow levels that have collapsed roofs, triggered avalanches and even covered doors, trapping some in their homes.

Emergency responders say rain fell overnight, making for a treacherous mess in the Prince William Sound community of 2,000.

Bad weather has prevented the Alaska National Guard from flying to the town, 150 miles south east of Anchorage. At least 50 guard members are heading to Cordova on a state ferry to help clear roofs and roads.

The state is also working on bringing in more heavy equipment to Cordova, which has issued a disaster proclamation.

The National Weather Service says Monday is supposed to be clear before another system moves in on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a Russian tanker is inching through thick ice in the Bering Sea en route to delivering fuel to iced-in western Alaska city Nome.

US Coast Guard icebreaker Healy is cutting a path for the 370ft Renda, which is carrying more than 1.3 million gallons of fuel.

Coastguard Petty Officer First Class David Mosley said the vessels were 170 miles south of Nome on Sunday. The ships are able to travel only five miles an hour through ice up to two feet thick.

The coastguard initially estimated arrival time early on Monday local time, but Mr Mosley said it is difficult to predict an exact time because of challenges of navigating through ice.

Nome did not receive its last pre-winter barge fuel delivery because of a massive storm.

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