Soggy Saturday: Nearly 25mm of rain possible during weekend storm; road between Huset and Museumsveien closed due to landslide danger

soggysaturday

There’s a couple of great outdoor events this weekend in the form of a 24-hour mountaineering marathon and a three-day beach cleanup/camping trip – but a major rainstorm between Friday night and midday Sunday means it’ll hardly be the great outdoors.

landslide

A portion of Vei 501 is buried during a rainstorm in October of 2016. Record rainfall during the fall resulted in the worst landslides situation in Longyearbyen in 40 years. The road is being closed as of Friday afternoon due to a storm expected this weekend. Photo by Mark Sabbatini / Icepeople.

Between 11 and 24 millimeters of rain are expected this weekend, according to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. The intensity of the storm – with more than 20 millimeters of rain  – possible between early Saturday morning to late Saturday afternoon – has resulted in the closure of Vei 501 between Huset and Museumsveien due to the threat of landslides.

The most intense part of the storm will coincide with the beginning of the annual Topptrimutfordringen quest, where participants try to climb all ten peaks surrounding Longyearbyen within 24 hours. The event, involving 42 kilometers of self-supported hiking, begins at 10 a.m.

Somewhat less intense rain is forecast outside Longyearbyen in Isfjorden, where volunteers will be participating in a three-day “Project Isfjorden” beach cleanup as part of a series of such efforts this summer.

The mountain above Vei 501 has been a major concern ever since the worst landslides in more than 40 years occurred in the fall of 2016, burying a stretch of the road and ultimately resulting in its permanent closure to vehicle traffic. Svalbard Church Priest Leif Magne Helgesen is also seeking the relocation of Longyearbyen Cemetery because it is at risk of being destroyed by a slide.

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