Mushy mountainside: Avalanche across Vei 300 near Huset closes road yet again to all traffic

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An avalanche that sent snow across a stretch of Vei 300 just before midnight Sunday has resulted in the closure of the road to all traffic between Huset and the intersection near the old museum, according to The Governor of Svalbard.

The avalanche reported at 11:47 p.m. occurred about 100 meters north of Huset, according to a statement from the governor. Barriers have been placed across both end of the road, which also applies to an adjacent groomed path that is part of a popular trail for skiers this time of year.

Vei 300 has been closed frequently due to avalanches and landslides, or the threat or them, and at one point was shut to all vehicle traffic for a prolonged period until it was lifted last year.

The governor’s office is scheduled to meet with avalanche experts from Skred AS to asses conditions on the road and the mountain above. Sunday night’s snowslide, as well as some reported recently in Nybyen in the vicinity of Mine 2B, are being attributed to warming temperatures that at times have been above freezing as well as occasional strong winds.

The weather forecast through Friday calls for temperatures at or above zero degrees Celsius, occasional rain/snow, and moderate to strong breezes. The avalanche forecast from the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate is for Level Two (moderate) conditions, with an advisory to “be careful in areas with windslabs. A persistent weak layer of facets may be triggered, especially by heavier loading such as a snow-mobile or where the snow cover is thin.”

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