EVACUATION LIFTED FOR NYBYEN/LIA: Residents/guests can return as of 11 a.m. Tuesday; governor says local avalanche risk still elevated, urges caution for those on excursions


A four-day evacuation of part of Nybyen, and a traffic ban on snow trails there and the Lia neighborhood near downtown Longyearbyen, has been cancelled as of 11 a.m. Tuesday, according to The Governor of Svalbard.

The evacuation of buildings along the mountain of Nybyen and traffic ban implemented as of 8 a.m. Saturday due to avalanche risks posed y a weekend blizzard and previously snow accumulation displaced roughly 60 people at guest lodges and student dorms. A large avalanche that narrowly missed buildings in Nybyen occurred Sunday and at least three other sizeable snow slides were reported in the vicinity of Longyearbyen during the weekend.

An assessment by avalanche experts Tuesday morning determined it is safe for the ban to be lifted, the governor announced in a prepared statement. But it also notes significant avalanche risks in the area remain.

“The governor asks people who are on a trip to take their precautions and not seek out avalanche-prone areas,” the announcement states.

A Level Three risk (“considerable”) is forecast for the area for Tuesday and Wednesday by the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate.