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AVALANCHE UPDATE: Storm w/ heavy precipitation, gale-force winds, temps to 7C expected Wed.-Thurs.; evacuation extended through New Year’s

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A storm expected to bring heavy rain and sleet, gale-force winds and temperatures up to seven degrees Celsius between midnight Wednesday and Thursday night presents a risk of new avalanches, according to officials who have extended an evacuation order for 80 residents with homes in the highest-risk area through New Year’s Day.

The storm could bring up to 20 millimeters of precipitation – about the same as the snowfall that triggered the Dec. 19 avalanche that buried 11 homes and killed two people, although that storm occurred over a period of several hours – and winds up to 50 kilometers per hour, according to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. The heaviest rainfall and highest temperatures are expected Thursday afternoon.