NBC's Kristen Dahlgren reports.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story misidentified the Homer newspaper quoted in the article. It is the Homer News.
Unlike the rest of the U.S., there's no shortage of winter in Alaska, where 60-mph winds shut down one town overnight, avalanches cut off a main highway outside Anchorage on Tuesday, fuel supplies were running low in at least three places and National Guard troops were helping a snow-smothered town dig out.
In fact, much of the vast state was under some kind of winter advisory into Wednesday -- areas just outside Anchorage were warned of 95-mph gusts and blizzard warnings extended across the southcentral coast, where the wind chill could make it feel like minus 50.
Two avalanches cut off a stretch of the highway from Anchorage to Girdwood and the Kenai Peninsula. And avalanche hazards were issued for several areas, including Cordova and nearby Valdez.
In Homer, where 60-mph winds and a couple inches of snow overnight led to 4- to 5-foot drifts, "people were out shoveling, operating front-end loaders" during a break before "more of the same" moves back in Wednesday afternoon, Homer News reporter McKibben Jackinsky told msnbc.com.
"Not typical at all" was how she described winter so far. "It's been pretty cold weather for this early in the year."
Most of Homer shut down on Tuesday, including schools and city offices. Jackinsky said she was able to drive in after clearing snow around her home's heating vents and then digging out of snow drifts.
Spc. Balinda O'Neal / Alaska National Guard
An Alaska National Guardsman clears snow from a roof in Cordova on Monday.
For some areas, the cold has meant fuel shortages. A seafaring convoy is trying to get fuel to Nome, while two smaller towns were hoping to get supplies flown in soon.
Kobuk Mayor Edward Gooden Jr. told msnbc.com that the town's airstrip was being cleared, but no exact time for a shipment was set. "Soon, I hope," he said at midday. The isolated town of some 150 residents relies on aircraft for deliveries of food and fuel.
In nearby Noatak, the town's store manager said a brief let-up in the cold Tuesday should allow a flight to land with enough fuel for two months. It had been minus 40 degrees in recent days, and by Thursday it is expected to be minus 50, added the manager, who declined to provide her name.
In Cordova, where 57 National Guard members were helping locals dig out, 6 to 14 inches of snow was forecast for Tuesday, as well as gusts up to 55 mph.
Cordova, which typically gets 100 inches of snow over an entire winter, has dubbed this one "Snowpocalypse 2012." How bad is it there? "Since November 1st we have received 44.24” of rain and 176” of snow," the city stated on its website. "Do the math!"
Other areas are also way ahead on their snow averages. Anchorage, for example, has already seen 81 inches, double the norm.
"Is this the winter of Mother Nature's discontent?" asked AlaskaDispatch.com. "Those living in Alaska have to wonder. It's like the poor old gal has gone schizophrenic. There really is no other explanation for the weather extremes witnessed in the north this year."
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