STORM ALERT: All evacuations lifted; community meeting Nov. 23 will review incident and focus on coming winter


All evacuations in Longyearbyen resulting from near-record rainfall and warm temperatures Monday and Tuesday have been lifted, The Governor of Svalbard announced Thursday afternoon.

Most people forced to evacuate homes, dorms and guest accommodations were allowed to return home Wednesday evening, but the order remained in effect for a cluster of apartments at Vei 232 and the dog kennels just outside town. After consulting with city leaders and experts at The University Centre in Svalbard Thursday morning, the governor lifted the final restrictions at about 2 p.m.

“Regarding the private dog yard, there might be a risk of smaller landslides, but not to the extent that it will represent a danger to the construction or facility,” a statement from the governor’s office notes.

A total of 259 people were affected by the evacuation order, the second time in a year such an event has happened during the past year. Many of the same areas were among those evacuated after an avalanche last Dec. 19 destroyed 11 homes and killed two people.

A community meeting is scheduled the evening of Nov. 23 (time and location to be announced later) to review the most recent evacuation and to discuss the monitoring of avalanches this winter, according to the governor’s statement.