ALERT: Extreme avalanche danger forecast Thursday for most of Svalbard; area near Longyearbyen also considered high-risk

warning051216

Travelers are being urged to avoid any potential avalanche-prone areas in most of Svalbard on Thursday, particularly along the east coast, due to a Level Four (“great”) risk rating, the second highest possible, according to a warning issued Wednesday by the Norwegian Avalanche Center. The rest of the archipelago is also considered to be at “considerable” risk.

“A large wind transport of of snow onto leeway slopes” is forecast, the warning states. “Avalanches can be triggered both naturally and by skiers. Avoid all avalanche terrain.”

Winds are expected to increase to gale strength in many parts of Svalbard late Wednesday, with up to 60 millimeters of precipitation in the form of snow and sleet on the east coast, and up to 30 millimeters in other areas. Tenmperatures are expected to be roughly around freezing.