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Warm Winter Forces Alaska Officials to Import Snow for Iditarod

FILE - Handler Connie LaRose hugs the sled dogs before the official start of the 2015 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race in Fairbanks, Alaska, March 9, 2015.

For the first time in history, organizers of Alaska's famed Iditarod sled dog race are having to ship in snow for the race's ceremonial start.

A train will deliver seven rail cars loaded with 230 cubic meters of snow from Fairbanks to Anchorage on Thursday.

The traditional start to the 1,600-kilometer (1,000-mile) race from Anchorage to Nome begins Saturday with a ceremonial trot through downtown Anchorage.

The competitive start of the race to the old gold rush town of Nome will be held Sunday in Willow, 80 kilometers north of Anchorage, where lower temperatures are expected.

This is the third warm year in a row for Anchorage, which recently broke a local record for most consecutive days without snowfall.