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Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Kim Weibl, Associated Press
In this Jan. 8, 2012 photo provided by the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, snow covers the harbor in the fishing town of Cordova, Alaska. Dozens of National Guard troops are helping Cordova dig out from massive snows that have collapsed roofs, trapped some people in homes and triggered avalanches.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Residents of two Alaska communities are seeking outside help after an exceptionally harsh winter left one buried in snow and the other iced in and facing a fuel shortage.

Dozens of National Guard members are helping the fishing town of Cordova dig out from mountains of snow that collapsed roofs, triggered avalanches and trapped some people in homes.

By one count, more than 10 feet of snow has fallen in the town of 2,000 in the last few weeks.

Almost 700 miles to the northwest, the old gold rush town of Nome is awaiting the arrival of a Russian tanker that's barely inching along in its mission to deliver much-needed fuel.

A Coast Guard vessel is cutting a path in the thick ice of the Bering Sea, but ship crews are encountering challenges that are sometimes forcing the vessels to come to a complete stop.