AVALANCHE ON ROAD TO MINE 7: Governor urges caution after fresh snow and high winds create unstable coniditions


Screenshot from Kjetil@obskorps/regobs.no.

An avalanche along the road leading to Mine 7 observed by a snowplough driver Saturday morning is prompting The Governor of Svalbard to issue an advisory to people travelling in mountainous terrain.

“Due to snowfall and wind during the night there is an increased risk of avalanches out in the terrain,” the governor stated in a notice on its Facebook page at about 10 a.m.

The avalanche warning system for Svalbard implemented by the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate isn’t officially active until Dec. 1, but the snowplough driver and others registered as observers for the site are reporting modest amounts of new snow since late Friday night, and the official weather forecast states light amounts more possible through the weekend. Winds that rose to near-gale speeds overnight were continuing to gust to about 35 km/h Saturday.

One concern of observers is a cycle of above/below freezing temperatures – resulting in a mix of snow, rain and sleet, are creating unstable snow layers on sloped terrain.