WALLOPING WIND ON WEDNESDAY: Hurricane-force winds of 126 km/h, blowing snow in Longyearbyen prompt warning to secure objects, avoid travel in exposed areas

A blizzard with hurricane-force winds up to 126 kilometers an hour is expected to hit Longyearbyen and Nordenskiöld Land on Wednesday, with officials urging residents to secure loose objects, avoid unnecessay travel in exposed areas and exercise extreme caution if navigating at sea.

A gusty Wednesday morning will give way to snow and steadily increasing winds by early afternoon, according to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. Snow accumulation of a few centimeters in town and heavier in outlaying areas is forecast before the storm tapers off Thursday afternoon.

“Loose objects can blow away” and should be secured, an advisory by the institute notes. “Possibility of canceled departures for ships, planes or other transport. Snowdrifts in the mountains provide reduced visibility and the opportunity for driving and/or closed roads.”