ALERT: Evacuations possible Sunday evening due to blizzard; residents urged to secure objects due to high winds (UPDATE: No evacuations after evaluations Sunday and Monday))

warning forecast

(Update 11:30 a.m. Monday: After little or no snow fell during the night, officials said no evacuation will be ordered and no further evaluation meetings have been announced.)

(Update 10 p.m. Sunday: No evacuation ordered; officials will reassess situation at 10 a.m. Monday.)

Evacuating homes in avalanche-prone areas due to snow and high winds is scheduled to be discussed at 8 p.m. Sunday by emergency officials, according to The Governor of Svalbard.

The local emergency council, avalanche experts with the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) and Skred AS held a similar meeting Sunday afternoon and decided against an evacuation order for now, but “the weather forecast indicates strong winds and the Governor urges people to secure loose items,” a statement by the governor’s office notes.

Near gale-force winds exceeding 60 kilometers an hour and up to several centimeters of snow are forecast Sunday evening and Monday morning, adding to a few centimeters of fresh snow the past couple of days, according to the Meteorological Institute. The NVE is predicting a Level Three (“considerable”) avalanche risk for the area through at least Tuesday – a level that has triggered previous evacuations this winter, but lower than the Level Four conditions that existed in some areas Thursday and Friday.