ALERT: Advendalen flooding blocks road, strands drivers and snowmobilers

roadclear

Update 7:10 p.m.: Frank Jakobsen, director of LNS Spitsbergen, states “crews are working to clear the road, but “we recommend that all unnecessary driving in Adventdalen be avoided.”

Original article: Heavy flooding in Advendalen has blocked the road at the Bolterdalen river, leaving vehicle and snowmobile drivers stranded, and other rivers are at risk of overflowing.

“Slush wave and lots of water have made the main Adventdalen road impossible to pass,” wrote Tom Foreman in a post on a Longyearbyen community Facebook page, noting he is touch with people on the other side of the river. “Slush building up on the road and more water building behind the road and slush dam. Very dangerous. Trucks and snowscooters apparently stuck out there already.”

“VERY HIGH RISK of the same happening with rivers from Todalen and Endalen – slush waves and large volumes of water can wash out of these valleys, so be careful with unnecessary journeys into Adventdalen!!”

The Governor of Svalbard has been alerted about the situation.

The area just past the dog kennels at the outskirts of Longyearbyen fills with meltwater Thursday afternoon. Flooding further out in Adventdalen is more severe, blocking the road as of early Thursday evening. Photo by Mark Sabbatini / Icepeople.

The area just past the dog kennels at the outskirts of Longyearbyen fills with meltwater Thursday afternoon. Flooding further out in Adventdalen is more severe, blocking the road as of early Thursday evening. Photo by Mark Sabbatini / Icepeople.

Veronica Langteigen – who has a cabin with her husband, Martin, out in the valley, wrote in a response “I really hope people understand the seriousness of the situation. Also be aware of the area between the city and the dogyard, it will probably come there too. Weather- and snow conditions are similar to the last time it flooded by slush.”

In a subsequent message to Icepeople she noted they were the first to spot the flooding while they were driving into the valley in the direction of the cabin.

“It probably went over the road only minutes before we arrived,” she wrote. “We observed slush coming towards our car, and reversed.”

The flooding is occurring due to unseasonably warm temperates as high as eight degrees Celsius since Wednesday and occasionally heavy rain, both of which are coming after an enormous amount of snowfall that triggered the Dec. 19 fatal avalanche. While the rain is expected to taper off from Thursday evening through Friday morning, up to 21 millimeters of rain is expected between Friday morning and Saturday night, according to the Norwegian Meteorological Service.

The governor has also closed the pedestrian bridge at Perleporten, near Spitsbergen Hotel, and the snowmobile trail nearby due to slush and the risk of flooding.

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