ALERT: Landslide near cemetery closes road between Huset and the old museum; other areas being assessed

landslide

Update 3 p.m.: The road to Endalen is also closed until further notice and there is still a high risk of further landslides, according to The Governor of Svalbard.

“In general, The Governor of Svalbard strongly recommends everyone to refrain from entering slopes and ridges in Longyearbyen and surrounding areas” a statement at the governor’s website notes. “This includes all commonly used tracks and trails in the area.”

Original story: A landslide triggered by heavy rain covered the road near Longyearbyen’s cemetery Saturday morning, prompting The Governor of Svalbard to close the road and conduct a helicopter search to determine if other areas are at risk.

landslidehelo

One of the governor’s Super Puma helicopters inspects mountains in Nybyen on Saturday morning after heavy rain triggered aa landslide near Longyearbyen’s cemetery. Photo by Mark Sabbatini / Icepeople.

The governor was notified about the slide at 8:53 p.m. Police Chief Lt. Trond Olsen told Svalbardposten it started just below the summit of Platåberget, but did not cover the road with a large amount of mass. However, the road beween Huset and the old cemetery was closed as officials determine if there are other potential slide areas. They are also talking to commercial drivers in town.

“They have not seen that there has been anything else, except that there is plenty of water” he said.

The Norwegian Meteorological Institute issued a storm warning Friday, with the forecast calling for up to 35 millimeters of rain Friday and Saturday, including 25 millimeters between 5 p.m. Friday and 5 a.m. Saturday.