STORM UPDATE (3 P.M. WEDNESDAY): Governor lifts evacuation order for Lia and Nybyen


An evacuation of about 80 residences and guest accommodations in avalanche-prone areas of Lia and Nybyen was lifted Wednesday afternoon by The Governor of Svalbard after a storm overnight Tuesday hit with less severity than feared.

Experts with the The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) examined the mountains on both sides of Longyearbyen on foot and by helicopter Wednesday morning before issuing their recommendation.

“Based on these observations and weather forecasts, NVE concludes that the danger of avalanches is over at this time,” Gov. Kjerstin Askholt said in a prepared statement.

The weather forecast for the next few days calls for steady, but not intense, precipitation and wind.

The evacuation of nearly all of the homes between Vei 222 and Vei 230 in Lia, plus the buildings closest to the mountains in Nybyen, affected up to 180 people.

However, an evacuation order for the homes in Lia considered most at risk of being hit by avalanches is still in effect from Dec. 22 until the snow vanishes from the mountainside next year. The affected addresses are Vei 222-7, 222-9, 222-11, 222-13, 222-15, 222-17; and Vei 226-10, 226-12, 226-31, 226-33, 226-35, 226-37.