STORM UPDATE (11:30 A.M. WEDNESDAY): Small avalanche on Sukkertoppen fails to reach homes

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Both the wind and snow were much less severe than forecast overnight Tuesday, but there was still sufficient accumulation to trigger a small avalanche on the mountain where two previous avalanches have destroyed homes, according to The Governor of Svalbard. The latest avalanche did not reach any structures.

“NVE’s local avalanche observers are inspecting the mountain slopes under Sukkertoppen and above Nybyen this morning,” Gov Kjerstin Askholt said in a prepared statement at 10 a.m. Wednesday. “Based on these observations there will be new evaluations made of the risk of avalanches and a new decision concerning the evacuation.”

About 80 residences and guest facilities, affecting as many as 180 people, were evacuated Monday night in anticipation of Tuesday night’s storm.

Wednesday’s forecast calls for mixed rain and snow decreasing throughout the day, with strong breezes at times. Modestly stormy weather is forecast to continue through midday Friday.

The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) rates the avalanche risk Wednesday and Thursday as Level 3 (“considerable”).

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