Tag Archives: avalanche

ANOTHER EVACUATION EXTENSION, ANOTHER AVALANCHE: Mountainside of Nybyen off-limits for another week; risk-level for area drops, but avalanches still happening

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An evacuation of the mountainside buildings and traffic ban on the snow trail in Nybyen was extended for a third week on Thursday afternoon by The Governor of Svalbard, just a few hours before the latest of numerous avalanches in recent weeks was observed in the well-traveled valley of Fardalen southeast of Longyearbyen.

Nobody was caught in the avalanche and the risk-level for the entire region has been lowed to Level Two (“Moderate”) as of Thursday. The Nybyen evacuation was ordered when there was a Level Four risk level – one below the maximum – due to snow and wind that resulted in cornices up to seven-meters high on the mountains at the south end of town.

WHAT PART OF ‘CLOSED’ DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND? Snowmobile tracks found at Mine 2B despite avalanche ban – on same day one is seen nearby; barriers now blocking route

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Photo by Elizabeth Bourne

Some snowmobilers took a ride to the off-limits Mine 2B in Nybyen and yet another avalanche was triggered from the dangerously snow-laded mountains on Sunday – although fortunately for the trespassers not at the same time.

But the city, accepting the reality that some people obviously can’t grasp reality themselves, set up barricades on the snow trail after the tracks were spotted in order to make it clear the area is extra-extra off-limits.

AVALANCHE ABOVE GJESTEHUSET 102: Snow stops short of evacuated guest lodge; Level Three avalanche risk for area through Tuesday

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An avalanche directly above Gjestehuset 102 was triggered Sunday afternoon, but the snow did not reach any of the structures that have been evacuated since Friday, according to The Governor of Svalbard.

OK TO DRIVE IN NO-DRIVE ZONE: Governor temporarily lifts snowmobile ban on trail through Tverrdalen/Bolterdalen until midnight Monday for people returning to Longyearbyen

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A ban on snowmobile traffic on a popular snow trail between Adventdalen and Reindalen, several kilometers southwest of Longyearbyen, is being lifted until midnight Monday so people returning to town can avoid high-risk avalanche terrain, The Governor of Svalbard announced Saturday.

“It only provides an opening to drive through Tverrdalen/Bolterdalen from Reindalen – not in the opposite direction,” the announcement notes.

IT’S A CLEAR DAY – AS IN, CLEARLY GOING PLACES ISN’T WISE: Flights cancelled, multiple avalanches, poor visibility means lots of risk and rescue attempts will be difficult, governor says

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Heavy snow Wednesday and predictions of more to come through Friday is prompting The Governor of Svalbard to urge people not to travel in mountainous terrain due to a high risk of avalanches and the likelihood rescues will be extremely difficult due to poor visibility.

The storm also resulted in the cancellation of the passenger and mail flights to Longyearbyen on Wednesday.

EXTREME AVALANCHE RISK WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY: Level Four conditions forecast for Longyearbyen vicinity and East Svalbard due to wind and large amounts of unstable snow

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Map of 13 avalanches near Longyearbyen and Barentsburg in past 72 hours by NVE

Update 5:40 p.m. Tuesday: A large avalanche  at in Ottofjellet, about 15 kilometers northeast of Longyearbyen, was reported late in the afternoon by a snowmobiler, according to The Governor of Svalbard (see photo below). A Level Four risk alert is now in effect for the entire region.

Original story: An extreme risk of avalanches is forecast Wednesday and Thursday for some of Svalbard’s most popular spring excursion areas – including the vicinities of Longyearbyen and Barentsburg, and east Svalbard – due to increasing winds and significant accumulations of unstable snow, according to the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate.

‘I WAS SURE MY COLLEAGUES HAD BEEN TAKEN BY THE AVALANCHE’: Large snowslide near Barentsburg on Monday misses members of snowmobiling group by meters

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A large avalanche 200 meters wide near Barentsburg on Monday afternoon apparently triggered by a snowmobiling group missed two people in the group by about 10 meters, according to officials and another member of the group who said he was certain his two friends had been killed.

The avalanche is the latest of several in popular spring travel areas in Svalbard and officials on Tuesday issued an alert waring of extreme danger in many of those areas Wednesday and Thursday.

EASTER EVACUATION ENDS: Two-day residential and traffic ban in Nybyen and Lia due to avalanche risk cancelled

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An evacuation of the mountainside buildings in Nybyen, plus a traffic ban in that area and the Lia neighborhood, was cancelled Monday afternoon by The Governor of Svalbard.

EVACUATION OF NYBYEN ORDERED BY 7 P.M. SATURDAY: Major storm Easter Sunday means mountainside buildings must be vacated until at least Monday, governor says; also applies to Lia

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An evacuation of the mountainside buildings in Nybyen and a ban on traffic in a portion of Lia – the same two areas evacuated for four days beginning last week – has been ordered by 7 p.m. Saturday by The Governor of Svalbard due to a major blizzard forecast Easter Sunday. In addition, the road between Nybyen and Longyearbyen School will be closed.

The evacuation will remain in effect until at least Monday morning, according to a statement by the governor.

FRIENDLY WARNING: New avalanche/weather information board for travellers, automatic SMS critical alerts to everyone in Svalbard regardless of residency offered by UNIS and city

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Photo by Maria Philippa Rossi/UNIS

Getting important and possibly lifesaving alerts about things like high avalanche risk is now considerably easier thanks to high-profile avalanche/weather information station at the edge of Longyearbyen leading to Adventdalen, plus the automating of urgent SMS alerts to everyone in Svalbard even if they’re not registered residents.