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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 10, 2014
No.: 14-2562
Contact: Anchorage: Shannon McCarthy, 907-269-0448, shannon.mccarthy@alaska.gov
Fairbanks: Meadow Bailey, 907-378-2340, meadow.bailey@alaska.gov
Juneau: Jeremy Woodrow, 907-465-8994, jeremy.woodrow@alaska.gov

ADOT&PF Kicks Off Alaska’s Avalanche Awareness Month

(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) –The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) wants Alaska’s drivers to be avalanche aware as they travel the state’s highways this winter.

“November is Alaska’s Avalanche Awareness Month. Most of the avalanches that affect ADOT&PF highways occur between December and March, but they can also hit the highway as early as September and as late as June,” said Matt Murphy, ADOT&PF avalanche specialist. “We want Alaskans to be alert to avalanche area highway signs and stay safe when traveling.”

Avalanche areas exist in every region of Alaska. ADOT&PF avalanche specialists monitor highway avalanche risk by tracking weather, terrain and snowpack conditions. Common conditions that increase avalanche hazards include significant amounts of new snow or rain, strong winds and rapid changes in temperature.

ADOT&PF recommends the following practices for drivers traveling in avalanche prone areas:

  • Check 511.alaska.gov or call 511 for current road conditions before traveling.
  • Do not stop in avalanche areas.
  • Always travel with emergency supplies in case of extended road closures.PDF document
  • Expect delays when ADOT&PF is conducting avalanche hazard reduction work.

If a driver encounters an avalanche affecting the highway, ADOT&PF recommends:

  • Do not step outside the vehicle.
  • Do not attempt to drive through the avalanche debris, regardless of size.
  • Drive away immediately to a safe location outside the avalanche zone.
  • Call 911 and report the avalanche to Alaska State Troopers.

For more information visit ADOT&PF’s Snow Avalanche Programs page.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities oversees 239 airports, 10 ferries serving 35 communities, more than 5,600 miles of highway and 776 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska. The mission of the department is to “Keep Alaska Moving through service and infrastructure.”

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