Tag Archives: avalanche

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Build the walls! (And we’ll pay for it): 44M more for new homes, avalanche barriers in government’s revised proposed budget

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Lawmakers are proposing spending an additional 48 million kroner in next year’s national budget for housing and avalanche protection to help Longyearbyen cope with its sudden housing crisis after an avalanche in February – the second in 14 months that destroyed structures – shook up the faith of local residents and leaders in the safety of main homes near mountainsides.

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.