Washington, DC -- Alaskan state officials have requested FEMA assist with joint Federal-State Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDAs) for damage associated with recent avalanches and severe weather in the Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound region over the past few days.
The Governor of Alaska has already declared a state disaster and the State Emergency Operation Center has been operating on a 24-hour basis since February 1.
PDA teams are expected to begin work tomorrow.
State officials report the Seward Highway, the major link between Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula was closed again about 20 miles south of Anchorage by a avalanche early yesterday morning. The roadway was expected to be open by this morning.
Other roadways in the area have been closed by avalanches or heavy drifting snow As a result, a number of communities have been isolated. The communities include Whitier, Portage, Valdez and the entire Kenai Peninsula.
There have been at least two confirmed fatalities and several injuries reported.
Several community shelters are opened. Cordova reports nine people sheltered by the American Red Cross.
Medical supplies and other vital commodities are being flown into isolated communities by helicopters. Scattered power outages continue to plague the region as avalanches and heavy winds down power lines.
Commercial cellular phone outages exist in numerous communities along with some land line communication.
The Alaska State Troopers and some emergency medical services in Moose Pass, Cooper Landing, Glennallen and Valdez are experiencing communication problems due to downed or damaged radio towers.