UPDATE: Richardson Highway near Valdez reopened

Extreme snowfall getting national attention

The Richardson Highway, near Valdez, reopened Thursday from mile 12-55. The Alaska Department of Transportation advises travelers that driving conditions are very difficult. Heavy snow, mixed with rain, is causing ice to form on the road.

The highway closed early Wednesday morning, from mile 12-55, due to an avalanche at mile 39. Thursday, crews worked to mitigate additional avalanche hazards and remove snow and debris from the road.

According to the National Weather Service, 76 inches of snow fell over five days, 46 inches fell in the past 48 hours and another 24 inches is forecast through Friday.

Thursday’s snowfall is among the most extreme rates on record at 10 inches per hour, getting national attention. The Washington Post reported Thursday that the Thompson Pass storm ranks among the most intense snowfalls that we know of, according to a quick analysis by Weather Underground’s weather historian, Christopher Burt.

Meanwhile, in Cordova temperatures remained in the 40s with more rain expected in the 10-day forecast.

For road condition updates visit 511.Alaska.Gov or call 511.