AVALANCHE UPDATE: Governor recommends 13 residential buildings near hillside be abandoned long-term or permanently

AVALANCHE UPDATE: Governor recommends 13 residential buildings near hillside be abandoned long-term or permanently

The long-term or permanent evacuation of 13 residential buildings closest to the mountain where two devastating avalanches have occurred in the past 14 months was recommended Wednesday by The Governor of Svalbard. The More »

AVALANCHE UPDATE: Many residents allowed to return home Wednesday night; evacuation of homes closest to mountainside continues indefinitely

AVALANCHE UPDATE: Many residents allowed to return home Wednesday night; evacuation of homes closest to mountainside continues indefinitely

Many of the more than 200 residents evacuated from 92 homes at midday Tuesday following an avalanche that destroyed two apartment buildings on Vei 228 are being allowed to return home Wednesday More »

AVALANCHE UPDATE: NVE experts conducting snow checks throughout Wednesday; public update meeting at 8 p.m.

AVALANCHE UPDATE: NVE experts conducting snow checks throughout Wednesday; public update meeting at 8 p.m.

Update (2:34 p.m.): Svalbard Gov. Kjerstin Askholt said NVE experts are expected to conduct their snow assessment work until 6 p.m., after which the local emergency council will meet to determine if the evacuation More »

WARNING SIGNS: Another major avalanche shatters people’s faith in official alert system as well as homes

WARNING SIGNS: Another major avalanche shatters people’s faith in official alert system as well as homes

Exasperating as the multiple widespread evacuations were, there was a general level of support and understanding for the “better safe than sorry” policy of local leaders. Now that’s been shaken up as More »

AVALANCHE UPDATE: Two avalanches block road to Mine 7; NVE sets Level Three risk level, recommends against travel

AVALANCHE UPDATE: Two avalanches block road to Mine 7; NVE sets Level Three risk level, recommends against travel

Two avalanches on the upper side of the road up to the Mine 7 on Wednesday morning are blocking it, according to Per Nilssen, mining manager for Store Norske. Plowing of the More »

 

AVALANCHE UPDATE: Governor recommends 13 residential buildings near hillside be abandoned long-term or permanently

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The long-term or permanent evacuation of 13 residential buildings closest to the mountain where two devastating avalanches have occurred in the past 14 months was recommended Wednesday by The Governor of Svalbard. The decision is for practical purposes effective immediately since the buildings were already evacuated after a landslide in the area Tuesday.

AVALANCHE UPDATE: Many residents allowed to return home Wednesday night; evacuation of homes closest to mountainside continues indefinitely

vei228closed

Many of the more than 200 residents evacuated from 92 homes at midday Tuesday following an avalanche that destroyed two apartment buildings on Vei 228 are being allowed to return home Wednesday night following a lengthy expert assessment of snow conditions, according to The Governor of Svalbard.

AVALANCHE UPDATE: NVE experts conducting snow checks throughout Wednesday; public update meeting at 8 p.m.

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Update (2:34 p.m.): Svalbard Gov. Kjerstin Askholt said NVE experts are expected to conduct their snow assessment work until 6 p.m., after which the local emergency council will meet to determine if the evacuation order will be extended. She said it is possible the decision will be announced before the 8 p.m. public meeting at Kulturhuset.

Original story: Avalanche experts with the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) began assessing the snowpack on Sukkertoppen by helicopter and foot at midday Wednesday to determine the risk of further avalanches after the one that destroyed two apartment buildings Tuesday morning. A public meeting to update the situation is scheduled at 8 p.m. at Kulturhuset.

WARNING SIGNS: Another major avalanche shatters people’s faith in official alert system as well as homes

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Exasperating as the multiple widespread evacuations were, there was a general level of support and understanding for the “better safe than sorry” policy of local leaders. Now that’s been shaken up as much as residents’ nerves were following an avalanche 18 months ago that started it all.

AVALANCHE UPDATE: Two avalanches block road to Mine 7; NVE sets Level Three risk level, recommends against travel

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Two avalanches on the upper side of the road up to the Mine 7 on Wednesday morning are blocking it, according to Per Nilssen, mining manager for Store Norske.

Plowing of the road is underway, according to a statement released by The Governor of Svalbard at 8:15 a.m. Nilssen told the governor’s office the mountainside will also be examined to determine the threat of additional avalanches before the road is plowed all the way to the mine.

ALERT: AVALANCHE DESTROYS TWO APARTMENT BUILDINGS ON VEI 228; PART OF LIA EVACUATED

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(This story will be updated continuously. Main article follows updates.)

Update (10:30 p.m.): Emergency officials apologized and several Longyearbyen residents expressed skepticism about local avalanche-warning system at a public meeting Tuesday night at Kulturhuset. Details have been added to the main article below.

Update (6:52 p.m.): Residents of most evacuated homes will be allowed into them to retrieve critical belongings. This does not apply to those in the top row of buildings on Vei 226 and Vei 222. Those interested need to meet police officials from the governor’s office, who are overseeing the entries, at 9 p.m. at Kulturhuset.

Update (6:30 p.m.): Svalbardbutikken open until 10 p.m. tonight. For those still needing housing, the evacuation center at Kuturhuset will close at 10 p.m. Those needing emergency help overnight can call 9890 5338.

Update (5:55 p.m.): Public meeting (in Norwegian) at 8 p.m. tonight at Kulturhuset to discuss the avalanche. Officials representing The Governor of Svalbard, the city, Svalbard Church, the Longyearbyen Red Cross and NVE will provide updates. The meeting is open to the media, but there will be time allocated for residents to ask questions without reporters present. The meeting is expected to last about one hour.

Update (5:30 p.m.): City officials say it is still unknown whether Svalbardhallen will be made available as an overnight shelter for evacuees unable to find housing. The city is urging people to find their own housing, but those without should notify the evacuation center at Kulturhuset (tel. 9890 5338). Also, icepeople.net has been down most of the day due to crashes related to heavy traffic. I am posting updates of this article on my Facebook page in case of another crash.

ALERT: Avoid all potential avalanche terrain in Svalbard on Tuesday; Level Four (‘High’) risk level declared

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A Level Four risk of avalanches, the second-highest possible, has been declared for all of Svalbard on Tuesday, prompting a warning not to travel in any potential at-risk areas, although city officials said there is no apparent danger to buildings.

Governor issues travel warning after avalanche near Longyearbyen; heavy snow forecast through Tuesday

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An avalanche triggered by heavy snow this weekend forced the temporary closure of a popular snowmobile trail on a glacier just south of Longyearbyen and The Governor of Svalbard said the risk of snowslides in the mountains remains high with more snow forecast through Tuesday.

Treasured Tove: Concerts and auction in Mine 3 Saturday night to help former Svalbard resident with MS

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Tove Klaven doesn’t sound any less energetic as she begins what she calls her “new life,” perhaps because so many people are springing into action in ways she no longer can.

‘Would you pay £80 for a bottle of WATER?’ Svalbarði’s big-time success also means big-time scorn

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Plenty of folks are toasting Jamal Qureshi’s success, although most probably aren’t doing it with his product. Plenty are indifferent about the rich choosing to literally piss their money away. And plenty are predictably reacting with ridicule and rage.