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The world's northernmost alternative newspaper
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    You might think polar bears – and the potential for attack – are the biggest danger the Norwegian island archipelago of Svalbard. But avalanches kill far more people on Svalbard than polar bears ever have. This story is written by guest contributor Nancy Bazilchuk of NTNU Looking at how much precipitation fell in Longyearbyen just

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    Both the emergency and regular phone numbers at Longyearbyen Hospital were inoperative during immediately after the avalanche a week ago Tuesday that destroyed two apartment buildings, according to High North News. The news website reported Friday officials working for the governor as well as civilians experienced major difficulties reaching the hospital. The apparent reason is

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    The evacuation of Gruvelageret and closing of Huset (except for presold groups at the restaurant Friday) until at least Sunday was ordered Friday afternoon by The Governor of Svalbard due to a storm that dumped several inches of snow and strong winds that are causing sizable drifts. The road between the old museum near Longyearbyen Cemetery

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    Eighteen months ago there were scary headlines about Longyearbyen losing 30 percent of its population and panicky questions about who would fill all those empty homes where laid off coal miners recently lived. Now the panic is how to squeeze a non-declining population into a suddenly alarming shortage of housing being sold and rented at skyrocketing prices.

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    For the past month people have generally been allowed into their evacuated homes for a few hours a day to collect belongings except for a few rare days when storms heightened the avalanche threat. Those days are over at least until the snow is gone. Nobody will be allowed to move into the evacuated homes

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    Spate of accidents, small avalanches causes for caution during sunny and busy Easter Week Several accidents resulting in injuries and at least two small avalanches have occurred in the past few days as Svalbard enters one of its busiest weeks for outdoor excursions, according to The Governor of Svalbard and other officials. Three snowmobilers were hospitalized

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    Get used to serious storms more frequently and evacuations after them as officials rely a bigger safety margin in determining if there is a risk of avalanches or landslides hitting structures. A report released Thursday assessing the circumstances of an avalanche Feb. 21 that destroyed two apartment buildings near the center of Longyearbyen urges better collection of snow

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    Lawmakers are proposing spending an additional 48 million kroner in next year’s national budget for housing and avalanche protection to help Longyearbyen cope with its sudden housing crisis after an avalanche in February – the second in 14 months that destroyed structures – shook up the faith of local residents and leaders in the safety

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    An evacuation of dozens of homes in effect since an avalanche hit two nearby apartment buildings Feb. 21 may be lifted soon – although perhaps not as soon or predictably as city and private employers hope. A resolution to lift the evacuation between June 1 and Oct. 1 was unanimously approved Monday by the Longyearbyen

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    Nearly 60 residences evacuated after an avalanche destroyed two nearby apartment buildings in February can be used as temporary housing until “the ground is covered by snow” unless protective measures are implemented, The Governor of Svalbard announced Tuesday evening. The decision will provide relief to the city and other employers who say there is a critical

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    People allowed back into dozens of avalanche-zone homes “until the snow returns” don’t have to vacate them for the winter quite yet even though the first visible snow fell on Longyearbyen this weekend, according to Svalbard Gov. Kjerstin Askholt. “It is not literally the first snow,” she said during a break in a community meeting

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    No criminal charges are warranted for the actions by Svalbard’s governor, Longyearbyen city officials and others related to a 2015 avalanche that destroyed 11 homes and killed two people, the Norwegian Bureau for the Investigation of Police Affairs announced Wednesday. But an attorney for the parents of one of the people killed said the bureau’s

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    It was just a matter of time – and that time is three days after the second anniversary of an avalanche that wiped out 11 homes in the neighborhood. The evacuation of more than a dozen apartment buildings and other residences in an avalanche-prone section of Lia neighborhood near the center of Longyearbyen was ordered Thursday afternoon

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    UPDATE 8:45 P.M. MONDAY – MEMORIAL GATHERING CANCELLED: Due to the storm and evacuation of dozens of home in at-risk areas, the second-anniversary avalanche memorial at Svalbard Church has been cancelled. Original story: It won’t be anything like the storm that caused the tragic avalanche two years ago. But it’ll be bad enough to make

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    Two candle lamps flicked peacefully in front of a snow heart at 5 p.m. Tuesday on a still-clear street leading to the homes that were destroyed by an avalanche exactly two years ago today. But only a few meters away on both sides were barricades preventing residents from getting to the homes still standing –

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    Update 10 p.m.: The Norwegian Meteorological Institute is now forecasting only modest winds (up to 25 kilometers an hour) and precipitation overnight Tuesday, although heavy snow/rain/sleet is still predicted Wednesday. Original story: A storm that hit Longyearbyen on Tuesday night won’t be as windy as originally forecast, but officials said heavy precipitation forecast through Wednesday

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    Both the wind and snow were much less severe than forecast overnight Tuesday, but there was still sufficient accumulation to trigger a small avalanche on the mountain where two previous avalanches have destroyed homes, according to The Governor of Svalbard. The latest avalanche did not reach any structures. “NVE’s local avalanche observers are inspecting the

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    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

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    It was a perfect symbolism for Christmas in Longyearbyen in 2017 – the locals dancing and singing as they circled the town’s official tree whose lights were dark (a seemingly laugh-it-off error that turned out to be deliberate sabotage). Because the top item on the wish list of many locals comes to down to one

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    A storm is expected to dump up to 40 millimeters of precipitation – all or mostly rain – in Longyearbyen on Saturday, causing significant avalanche and flooding risks, according to an alert issued Friday by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. The alert period is  in effect from 1 a.m. Saturday until 6 a.m. Sunday. The forecast