STORM UPDATE: No further evacuations Wednesday night; forecast calls for slightly less intense snowfall


No further evacuations are planned Wednesday night as the worst of a snowstorm hits Longyearbyen, according to The Governor of Svalbard.

“We will follow the development of weather and possible avalanche danger throughout the evening and night,” Gov. Kjerstin Askholt said in a prepared statement.

Officials will assess the situation against at 9:30 a.m. Thursday. The worst of the expected to continue until noon.

The latest decision comes after a revised weather report at 5 p.m. Wednesday predicted predicts somewhat less snowfall between 6 p.m. Wednesday and noon Thursday than the previous forecast (15.2 millimeters of precipitation, down from 15.9mm earlier today). The peak predicted snowfall rate between midnight and 6 a.m. has also been reduced, but winds may be slightly stronger then (94 km/h gusts to 144 km/h in exposed areas).

All of Nybyen was evacuated early this afternoon due to the potential avalanche risk, but officials said they do not expect any snowslides to reach buildings.