Adventure reaching Alaska town buried by snow

Alaska town buried by more than 15 ft. of snow
In this Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012 photo provided by the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, a man stands on a house buried in snow in the fishing town of Cordova, Alaska. Residents have turned to the state to help them dig out of massive snow levels that have collapsed roofs, triggered avalanches and even covered doors, trapping some people in their homes.
AP Photo/Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Kim Weibl

The fishing town of Cordova, Alaska, already buried under some 15 feet of snow this year, got several more inches Tuesday. It's virtually cut off from the outside world.

But CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy was determined to get there - and he did, after quite a plane ride, from Anchorage, through a blizzard.

"The pilot," he says, "told us we had a one percent chance of making the landing in Cordova, but ... we made it."

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From the airport, Tracy was "driving in on the only road that goes into Cordova. (It's) surrounded by mountains and glaciers, and avalanches have been closing it for the past couple of days. The National Guard has been doing everything it can to keep this road open, because it's really the only way into town."

When he reached Cordova, Tracy saw a giant snow melter, which is so big it had to be brought in on a barge, and which is needed because there's nowhere left to put plowed snow.

The Alaskan National Guard has been on the ground there now for three days, racing to clear snow from roads and rooftops to keep them from caving in.

Shovels, of all things, are in very short supply.

"They need so much help, the Coast Guard is now working on land, helping to fix snowplows to keep them out on the streets."

Cordova resident Carlos Comparan admits, "Some of us are kind of embarrassed with all the attention ... this is Alaska, you know!"

Even the most prepared Cordovans are getting fed up with the white stuff, which just keeps piling up.

"The good news," says Tracy, "(is that) the snow is finally stopping. The bad news: Rain is on the way. That will make the snow even heavier, and the cleanup even tougher."

To see Tracy's report, click on the video above.