Storm alert: Heavy rain/snow, gale-force winds and ‘severely elevated tides’ Tuesday and Wednesday


Update at 5:30 p.m.: The forecast for the storm’s severity Tuesday night and Wednesday has been reduced somewhat, with about 16 millimeters of precipitation and winds reaching speeds of up to 50 km/h now expected in Longyearbyen. Top winds speeds in Svalbard are still forecast at 80 km/h and some areas such as Ny-Ålesund have already received heavy precipitation.

Original story: A gale-force storm with winds up to 80 km/h, and heavy rain and snow is expected to reach Svalbard early Tuesday afternoon and last until midday Wednesday, according to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.

The storm is expected to dump up to 22 millimeters of precipitation on Longyearbyen, with rain turning to snow overnight. Temperatures are expected to drop from four degrees Celsius to zero degrees by midday Wednesday.

Winds in Longyearbyen are expected to be slightly less severe than more exposed areas of Svalbard.

A weather alert issued from the Troms and Finnmark regions notes the storm could be complicated by “the combination of high astronomical tides in addition to high waves and strong winds at high tide.” The resulting water levels could reach five- to 20-year highs.

Strong winds are forecast to continue through Thursday with temperatures dropping to minus six degrees Celsius. The cold spell is expected to last through next week.