EVACUATION UPHELD: Uncertain weather after heavy snow extends vacancy of Lia homes through Sunday


Residents of about a dozen homes in the center of Longyearbyen will have to wait at least one more day before being allowed to return after an evacuation of the home Thursday evening was extended until at least Sunday by The Governor of Svalbard.

“The decision is based on the uncertain weather forecasts for Sunday and avalanche expert assessments,” a statement issued by the governor’s office at about 3 p.m. Saturday notes.

A new assessment is scheduled Sunday morning.

The avalanche risk level above the homes on Sukkertoppen is Level Three (“considerable”) out of five, according to The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate.

“Conditions are dangerous,” a forecast for Longyearbyen at the NVE’s site notes. “Be careful in lee areas with wind deposited snow, typically behind ridges, ribs and in gullies. Be aware of a persistent weak layer buried by windslabs. There are probably more snow in the eastern parts of the region. The possibility for natural avalanches are most present in the eastern areas.”

The Norwegian Meteorological Institute’s forecast through Monday calls for temperatures a few degrees below zero, gradually increasing winds and light to moderate snow from midday Sunday through late Monday.

The temporary evacuation applies to Vei 228-2, 228-4 A, B, C, D, 228-7, 228-9, 228-11, and 228-13 A, B, C, D, E. In addition, Thursday’s evacuation order is in long-term effect at Vei 222-7, 222-9, 222-11, 222-13, 222-15, 222-17, Vei 226-10, 226-12, 226-31, 226-33, 226-35 and 226-37 until the snow vanishes from the mountain next year.