AVALANCHE UPDATE: More road flooding in Advantdalen, governor again extends evacuation order


Occasional heavy rain resulted in the road being flooded late Sunday afternoon at Isdammen, on the outskirts of Longyearbyen heading into Adventfjorden.  The storm also resulted in The Governor of Svalbard extending an evacuation order for about 80 homes at least until Monday night.

“Mild weather and rain can trigger a so-called wet snowslide from Sukkertoppen,” a statement posted at the governor’s website at about 3:40 p.. Sunday notes. “The avalanche experts’ advice is therefore to maintain the evacuation and traffic ban in the area until further notice. Weather conditions will determine when the evacuation may cease.”

The weather forecast calls for precipitation to end tonight, and for temperatures to drop below freezing by late Monday morning. The long-term forecast is for partly cloudy skies with no precipitation, light winds and temperatures between minus 10 and minus 13 degrees Celsius.

There is also the potential for slush avalanches at Vannledningsdalen, and the pedestrian bridge and surrounding area remain closed as a precaution even through the risk of a slide there is considered minimal, according to the statement.

Another risk assessment is scheduled Monday night.

Unseasonably warm temperatures up to nine degrees Celsius and ongoing rain since last week have dissolved much of the heavy snowfall that triggered a massive avalanche Dec. 19. The road to Advendalen flooded last Thursday night, cutting off vehicle and snowmobile drivers for a few hours, and the road was submerged again Sunday night where a dammed lake that is the town’s primary drinking water source overflowed.

“Isdammen is flowing quite heavily over the road at the moment,” Martin Langteigen wrote in a Facebook message at about 4:30 p.m.