Raw Video: Avalanches Close 50 Miles of Highway, Cut Off Alaska Town

updated 01/28/2014 AT 04:50 PM EST

originally published 01/28/2014 AT 11:00 AM EST

The residents of Valdez, Alaska, aren't going anywhere, unless they have a helicopter.

All road access into the town is blocked due to a series of avalanches that occurred on Thursday. More than 50 miles of Richardson Highway, which leads into Valdez, are covered in snow and submerged in icy flood waters from the nearby Lowe River.

The avalanches buried the road and blocked the flow of the river, causing the waters to back up and create a deep ice lake around the thoroughfare.

This footage of Richardson Highway, taken by helicopter, shows the extent of the damage that needs to be cleared before Valdez residents are able to escape town. Workers hope to clear the highway soon, but, according to Anchorage Daily News, the threat of more avalanches is delaying progress.

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