STORM UPDATE: Evacuation situation remains uncertain with more rain and warm temperatures expected tonight

nybyenclosed

The road to Nybyen is blocked at Longyearbyen School. Photo by Mark Sabbatini / Icepeople.

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An immense rainstorm forced about 140 people to evacuate residents and guest lodges Monday afternoon due to landslide and flooding concerns and, while no major incidents were reported, officials were unsure as of midday Tuesday about whether it would be safe for people to return to their homes.

“There has been very high rainfall on the western side of Spitsbergen during the night, and there have been some minor landslides in the Longyearbyen area,” a statement issued at about 10:30 a.m. by The Governor of Svalbard notes. “Apart from a minor landslide that have destroyed parts of the kennels just outside the town, there were no reports of damage or injuries.”

“We are currently working to get an overview of the situation, including via a helicopter inspection with people from the governor’s office, Longyearbyen Community Council and avalanche experts. More rain and rising temperatures are expected tonight.”

Emergency officials are scheduled to meet at 1 p.m. Tuesday to determine if the evacuation order should be modified. The evacuation center at Kulturhuset will be open from noon to 4 p.m.

About Post Author

Mark Sabbatini

I'm a professional transient living on a tiny Norwegian island next door to the North Pole, where once a week (or thereabouts) I pollute our extreme and pristine environment with paper fishwrappers decorated with seemingly random letters that would cause a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters to die of humiliation. Such is the wisdom one acquires after more than 25 years in the world's second-least-respected occupation, much of it roaming the seven continents in search of jazz, unrecognizable street food and escorts I f****d with by insisting they give me the platonic tours of their cities promised in their ads. But it turns out this tiny group of islands known as Svalbard is my True Love and, generous contributions from you willing, I'll keep littering until they dig my body out when my climate-change-deformed apartment collapses or they exile my penniless ass because I'm not even worthy of washing your dirty dishes.
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