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Anchorage residents allowed to return home after massive avalanche, but dangerous conditions remain

By Jamiel Lynch and Emma Tucker, CNN

An evacuation order has been lifted for people living near the site of an avalanche in Alaska, but officials warn conditions are still dangerous.

Residents in the Eagle River area were asked to evacuate after the massive avalanche cut off 100 homes without power Thursday night.

Mayor Dave Bronson said in an emergency order dated Saturday that the avalanche posed a grave and immediate threat to the health, safety and welfare of the area due to damaged buildings, compromised roads and residents being cut off and isolated.

Affected residents were allowed back into the area Sunday night, the Anchorage Office of Emergency Management said in a series of tweets, but the agency noted, “We caution residents from returning to their homes until snow is removed.”

The snow removal process is expected to take two weeks, “if conditions remain safe,” the OEM update said. Removal began on Monday morning.

“The public should be aware of increased truck traffic on the road and are reminded to stay clear of the immediate slide area,” officials tweeted Monday. “Plans are being made to restore temporary power to the remaining impacted homes.”

Authorities previously said the avalanche was about 60-80 feet deep and 100 feet wide.

Police said there were no reports of anyone trapped in the snow and no homes were damaged, CNN reported Friday, but they noted the snow was extremely unstable.

“Safety teams have assessed potential risks for reentry. However, significant risks are still in place until snow clearing operations are complete,” the OEM said Sunday.

“Risks will be assessed day by day until further notice,” OEM officials added.

Crews will begin removing snow Monday if conditions allow, emergency officials said.

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CNN’s Christine Sever contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: CNN-Weather/Environment

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