Storm alert: Gale-force winds, heavy snow forecast Thursday night through Sunday

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Update 1 p.m. Thursday: A more severe storm with winds in Longyearbyen reaching 80 kilometers an hour, with stronger hurricane-force winds surpassing 115 kp/h in exposed portions of the west coast of Spitsbergen, and about 32 millimeters of precipitation is now being forecast between Thursday night and midday Sunday by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.

Original story: A major storm alert for Longyearbyen forecasting heavy snow and winds up to 70 kilometers an hour between Thursday evening and midday Sunday was issued Wednesday by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.

More than 25 millimeters of precipitation is forecast, with the heaviest snowfall between Friday and Saturday evenings. Winds are expected to reach gale and near-gale speeds from midday Friday to late Friday night.

Temperatures are forecast to drop from minus 18 degrees Celsius early Thursday morning to minus four degrees Celsius during the peak of the storm.

The weather site storm.no is predicting more severe conditions, with winds peaking at more than 80 kilometers an hour early Saturday.

Colder temperatures and calm winds are expected to return Monday and continue through Christmas, according to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.