There’s still rain in the forecast. Temperatures are still well above freezing. There will be another mid-day helicopter survey of the hillsides. And another early afternoon meeting of emergency officials. And sometime later this afternoon we’ll learn if some or all of us will be allowed to return home.Officials on Tuesday extended an evacuation order until today due to forecasts calling for up to 10 millimeters of precipitation, gusty winds and temperatures up to five degrees Celsius. Wednesday’s forecast calls for drizzle – less than one millimeter is likely between noon and midnight – and winds decreasing to a light breeze. But temperatures are forecast to remain above zero until tomorrow evening – and dip below that only briefly – thus hampering the stabilization of the saturated hillsides surrounding the town.
A total of 259 residents, students and visitors were forced to evacuate residences, dorms and guest lodging Monday and Tuesday due to the risk of landslides due to a near-record rainstorm. That total, updated Wednesday from previously published estimates of 140 people, factors in the students and tourists who were staying in Nybyen, according to Svalbardposten.