Tag Archives: Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate

WINDY WHITEOUT: Blizzard puts Longyearbyen on avalanche alert, delays flight to mainland until at least after midnight


A blizzard resulting in heavy snow and near-zero visibility Monday has triggered an avalanche alert for Longyearbyen, and led to the cancellation of one passenger flight to the mainland and the delay of a second until at least after midnight Tuesday, according to officials.

‘A completely unsustainable situation’: New avalanche risk report says far more homes than thought are vulnerable


Far more homes in the center of Longyearbyen are vulnerable to avalanches than previously thought. Spending 100 million to protect 37 residences and other parts of the city center with various snow barriers is being recommended. But there appears to be no practical way to protect about 140 more residences – meaning even more costly teardown and rebuilding efforts for a town already in a large-scale housing crisis.

STORM ALERT: 20-40mm of precipitation, near-gale winds, warm temps, high avalanche risk forecast Saturday


A storm is expected to dump up to 40 millimeters of precipitation – all or mostly rain – in Longyearbyen on Saturday, causing significant avalanche and flooding risks, according to an alert issued Friday by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of April 11, 2017


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.

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


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: NVE experts conducting snow checks throughout Wednesday; public update meeting at 8 p.m.


Update (2:34 p.m.): Svalbard Gov. Kjerstin Askholt said NVE experts are expected to conduct their snow assessment work until 6 p.m., after which the local emergency council will meet to determine if the evacuation order will be extended. She said it is possible the decision will be announced before the 8 p.m. public meeting at Kulturhuset.

Original story: Avalanche experts with the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) began assessing the snowpack on Sukkertoppen by helicopter and foot at midday Wednesday to determine the risk of further avalanches after the one that destroyed two apartment buildings Tuesday morning. A public meeting to update the situation is scheduled at 8 p.m. at Kulturhuset.

WARNING SIGNS: Another major avalanche shatters people’s faith in official alert system as well as homes


Exasperating as the multiple widespread evacuations were, there was a general level of support and understanding for the “better safe than sorry” policy of local leaders. Now that’s been shaken up as much as residents’ nerves were following an avalanche 18 months ago that started it all.

Building the walls: Avalanche-protection barriers in Longyearbyen could cost 79M to 180M kroner, NVE reports


Installing protective barriers in areas of Longyearbyen considered at risk of avalanches could cost 79 million to 180 million kroner, depending on the extent and level of protection, according to a report presented to city officials Tuesday.

Stay or move? Gjestehuset 102 manager not afraid being in avalanche zone; UNIS says it will abandon Nybyen dorms


Karl-Eric Melander isn’t worried about living in an avalanche “red zone,” but is concerned about the possibility he and the guests at his hostel will be forced to evacuate it every time there’s a severe storm.

BREAKING: NVE report declares more than 150 residences and dorms in Lia and Nybyen are in avalanche danger zones


More than 150 residences and dorms closest to the mountains in Lia and Nybyen have been declared avalanche danger zones in a study released Thursday by the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate. But while the report is intended to help Longyearbyen officials with land management and preventative measures, a directorate official said a recently activated warning system is an adequate short-term solution.