Tag Archives: avalanche

Margin of error: NVE evaluation of February avalanche says better data and more caution needed when evaluating risk

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Get used to serious storms more frequently and evacuations after them as officials rely a bigger safety margin in determining if there is a risk of avalanches or landslides hitting structures.

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of April 11, 2017

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Spate of accidents, small avalanches causes for caution during sunny and busy Easter Week
Several accidents resulting in injuries and at least two small avalanches have occurred in the past few days as Svalbard enters one of its busiest weeks for outdoor excursions, according to The Governor of Svalbard and other officials.

Snow barrier: Evacuation of homes in avalanche area upheld until summer; access to retrieve items cut back to once a week

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For the past month people have generally been allowed into their evacuated homes for a few hours a day to collect belongings except for a few rare days when storms heightened the avalanche threat. Those days are over at least until the snow is gone.

Guess who’s in the house? Workers aren’t sure where they can live after latest avalanches redefines ‘community in transition’

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Eighteen months ago there were scary headlines about Longyearbyen losing 30 percent of its population and panicky questions about who would fill all those empty homes where laid off coal miners recently lived.

Now the panic is how to squeeze a non-declining population into a suddenly alarming shortage of housing being sold and rented at skyrocketing prices.

AVALANCHE UPDATE: Gruvelageret evacuated, Huset closed until at least Sunday due to potential avalanche danger

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The evacuation of Gruvelageret and closing of Huset (except for presold groups at the restaurant Friday) until at least Sunday was ordered Friday afternoon by The Governor of Svalbard due to a storm that dumped several inches of snow and strong winds that are causing sizable drifts.

Cut off: Emergency, regular phone numbers fail at Longyearbyen Hospital during avalanche

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Both the emergency and regular phone numbers at Longyearbyen Hospital were inoperative during immediately after the avalanche a week ago Tuesday that destroyed two apartment buildings, according to High North News.

Deadliest force: Reseachers hope to improve avalanche-risk awareness with network of snowfall measuring devices

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You might think polar bears – and the potential for attack – are the biggest danger the Norwegian island archipelago of Svalbard. But avalanches kill far more people on Svalbard than polar bears ever have.

Random weirdness for the week of Feb 28, 2017

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To the many in Longyearbyen who suddenly have no address, a Very Special Letter arrived a few days ago. Actually, it’s to the “people of Longyearbyen,” but they wouldn’t have gotten it if not for some persistence by the sender and local postal officials since it was mailed to our editor who’s among those evacuated (not the first time we’ve made that inside journalism joke this week) after Tuesday’s avalanche.

AVALANCHE UPDATE: Evacuees allowed into homes from 3-6 p.m. Friday, noon-3 p.m. Saturday; more chances to come

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People living in residents still evacuated after Tuesday’s avalanche will be allowed into their homes to retrieve belongings from 3-6 p.m. Friday and noon-3 p.m. Saturday, according to The Governor of Svalbard.

There will be more chances to enter residences at times to be announced. The long-term forecast for Longyearbyen calls for temperatures well below zero degrees Celsius and no precipitation through next Saturday.

Rant: You may want to go home – for maybe the last time ever. The Sequel (20 minutes in a freezing hell with little left to lose)

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This time, almost exactly a year to the day later, there was no forewarning it might happen. Instead of two hours, I had 20 minutes. There was no calvary bringing vehicles – indeed, there were no cars at all because I had no idea where mine was.

And it wasn’t a pivotal moment on a worldwide reality TV show – or even covered by the local media. Good thing, because as the picture indicates, I look a whole lot worse for wear this year.