Tag Archives: avalanche

STORM UPDATE (3 P.M. WEDNESDAY): Governor lifts evacuation order for Lia and Nybyen


An evacuation of about 80 residences and guest accommodations in avalanche-prone areas of Lia and Nybyen was lifted Wednesday afternoon by The Governor of Svalbard after a storm overnight Tuesday hit with less severity than feared.

STORM UPDATE (11:30 A.M. WEDNESDAY): Small avalanche on Sukkertoppen fails to reach homes


Both the wind and snow were much less severe than forecast overnight Tuesday, but there was still sufficient accumulation to trigger a small avalanche on the mountain where two previous avalanches have destroyed homes, according to The Governor of Svalbard. The latest avalanche did not reach any structures.

STORM UPDATE (9 P.M. TUESDAY): Wind, precipitation likely to be less severe than feared overnight Tuesday, officials say avalanche risk remains


Update 10 p.m.: The Norwegian Meteorological Institute is now forecasting only modest winds (up to 25 kilometers an hour) and precipitation overnight Tuesday, although heavy snow/rain/sleet is still predicted Wednesday.

Original story: A storm that hit Longyearbyen on Tuesday night won’t be as windy as originally forecast, but officials said heavy precipitation forecast through Wednesday still poses a significant avalanche risk.

A mixture of snow, sleet and rain are forecast due to temperatures just above zero, with up to 17 millimeters of precipitation possible between 9 a.m. Tuesday and the end of the day Wednesday. Winds are expected to reach peak speeds of up to 47 kilometers an hour (down from 65 km/h originally expected) by midnight Tuesday.

STORM UPDATE: 2nd anniversary of deadly avalanche eerily quiet in hours leading up to major blizzard Tuesday night


Two candle lamps flicked peacefully in front of a snow heart at 5 p.m. Tuesday on a still-clear street leading to the homes that were destroyed by an avalanche exactly two years ago today. But only a few meters away on both sides were barricades preventing residents from getting to the homes still standing – a literal warning sign of the fury about to hit the area again in the coming hours.

STORMY MEMORIES: Second anniversary memorial for deadly avalanche will take place during first serious blizzard of season


UPDATE 8:45 P.M. MONDAY – MEMORIAL GATHERING CANCELLED: Due to the storm and evacuation of dozens of home in at-risk areas, the second-anniversary avalanche memorial at Svalbard Church has been cancelled.

Original story: It won’t be anything like the storm that caused the tragic avalanche two years ago. But it’ll be bad enough to make reliving a bad experience even more chilling.

A storm with heavy snowfall and high winds is expected to hit Longyearbyen on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the most intense period coinciding with a memorial gathering at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Svalbard Church. The Norwegian Meteorological Institute is forecasting up to 15 millimeters of precipitation and winds gusting to 65 kilometers an hour. The worst of the storm is expected to pass by midnight.

Moving day: Governor orders homes in avalanche-prone area of Lia to be evacuated until snow is gone


It was just a matter of time – and that time is three days after the second anniversary of an avalanche that wiped out 11 homes in the neighborhood.

The evacuation of more than a dozen apartment buildings and other residences in an avalanche-prone section of Lia neighborhood near the center of Longyearbyen was ordered Thursday afternoon by Svalbard Gov. Kjerstin Askholt. The order, similar to one enacted during the past winter following a second avalanche that destroyed homes, takes effect Dec. 22 and will remain in effect “as long as there is a risk of avalanches in the area.”

‘No criminal offense considered proven’ in deadly 2015 avalanche, prosecutors rule; parents of girl killed says findings boosts civil case


No criminal charges are warranted for the actions by Svalbard’s governor, Longyearbyen city officials and others related to a 2015 avalanche that destroyed 11 homes and killed two people, the Norwegian Bureau for the Investigation of Police Affairs announced Wednesday.

But an attorney for the parents of one of the people killed said the bureau’s findings nonetheless bolster a civil case accusing officials of negligence by failing to recognize the threat to the homes and evacuate the area.

Termination dust: Return of snow means evacuation of at-risk homes, heightened avalanche monitoring in near-term future


People allowed back into dozens of avalanche-zone homes “until the snow returns” don’t have to vacate them for the winter quite yet even though the first visible snow fell on Longyearbyen this weekend, according to Svalbard Gov. Kjerstin Askholt.

“It is not literally the first snow,” she said during a break in a community meeting last Wednesday to discuss landslide and avalanche preparations for the coming winter. “It will be when there’s enough snow for us to evaluate if there is a threat.”

Shelter until the snow flies: Governor lifts evacuation order for homes evacuated after avalanche – but only temporarily


Nearly 60 residences evacuated after an avalanche destroyed two nearby apartment buildings in February can be used as temporary housing until “the ground is covered by snow” unless protective measures are implemented, The Governor of Svalbard announced Tuesday evening.

Beds of summer? Evacuation of homes after avalanche may be lifted to accommodate extra seasonal workers


An evacuation of dozens of homes in effect since an avalanche hit two nearby apartment buildings Feb. 21 may be lifted soon – although perhaps not as soon or predictably as city and private employers hope.