Tag Archives: evacuation

SUMMER SHELTER: Evacuation order for homes in avalanche-prone area of Lia lifted – but will new snow barriers be finished before winter returns?

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An evacuation order for dozens of residences in a high-risk avalanche zone that’s been in effect since Dec. 22 has been lifted, but will likely be reinstated when significant snowfall returns to Longyearbyen unless snow barriers currently under construction are securely in place, The Governor of Svalbard announced Thursday.

Abandon all hope: Svalbard’s 10 biggest stories of 2017

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We’re not going to spin it: the year known as 2017 was a disaster – literally.

An avalanche early on shook the community and its leaders to its foundations, climate change inflicted maybe its most humiliating impact on us yet, Barentsburg suffered through two fatal crashes and the hope of some kind of future in terms of Store Norske’s coal mines suffered a death far more painful than even the most pessimistic envisioned.

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Jan. 30, 2018

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Record number of fire alarms; kitchen fires a particular concern
The Longyearbyen Department received a record 187 alarms during 2017, 15 of which were fires or ignitions. Of those, 11 were due to “dry cooking,” which often happens late at night when intoxicated people fall asleep while cooking.

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

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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

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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: 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.

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.”

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.