Washington, DC -- Governor Tony Knowles of Alaska declared a state disaster yesterday for areas of south-central Alaska that are experiencing avalanches and avalanche threat.
The state officials confirm one avalanche-related death. Numerous injuries have been reported.
Local officials have evacuated sections of Cordova that were determined to be in likely avalanche release areas. Approximately 130 people are being sheltered at the elementary school in Girdwood.
Helicopters delivered needed medical supplies to Girdwood. All roads into the town are closed and the town's fuel is in short supply. The town of Seward is operating on emergency generator power. Several other towns report power outages.
The National Weather Service reports three storms are poised to bring additional heavy snow and rain to affected areas over the next six days. Due to the ongoing severe weather, Alaskan Department of Transportation personnel have not begun clearing actual avalanches from Seward Highway, which is closed south of Anchorage.
FEMA's regional office in Bothell, Washington, Region X has deployed a liaison officer to Alaska's State Emergency Coordination Center and is closely monitoring the situation.