AVALANCHE UPDATE: Three-tier risk map rates Nybyen, snowslide vicinity highest, Gamle Sykehuset and border areas of slide zone at medium


Residents may be allowed to return Monday to homes considered least at-risk, Svalbard Gov. Kjerstin Askholt said at a community meeting Sunday night.

Experts surveying the area Sunday rated evacuated zones on a three-tier system. A map at the meeting showed homes along Vei 230 except for those already buried by Saturday’s avalanche are low risk; homes at Vei 224, portions of Vei 226 and Gamle Sykehuset are medium risk; and homes at Vei 222,Vei 228 and portions of Vei closest to the mountain are high risk (shown in yellow in the map).

All of Nybyen, access to which has been completely blocked, is not shown on the map, but “all of that’s level three, I’m afraid,” Askholt said following the meeting.

She said another assessment of medium-risk homes is scheduled Monday.


(Click to enlarge): A map shows avalanche risk areas in the central part of Longyearbyen as of Sunday night. Green areas surrounded by red are considered low risk, other green areas are medium risk, while yellow areas are high risk. All of Nybyen, not shown, is in the high-risk category. Photo by Mark Sabbatini / Icepeople.