Norway

Several hundred evacuated in the Lofoten Islands due to avalanche risk

Hundreds of inhabitants have been evacuated after snow and avalanche danger have created chaos in Lofoten. Police warn residents who have refused to leave their homes.

– Some households chose not to comply with our call for evacuation. We take a ringing round to them now and strongly encourage them to evacuate. Should there be a race now, it is uncertain how quickly we can help them, says operations manager Ivar Bo Nilsson in the Nordland police district to NTB night until Tuesday.

In total, around 100 people from Skjelfjord and 100 from Ramberg will be evacuated. There has been a landslide that closes the road in the area. Some had to be evacuated by boat.

– It is challenging to carry out the evacuation in the area because there are large amounts of snow and avalanche risk along the way, the police in Nordland wrote in a press release.

New record

The Meteorological Institute informed Monday morning that there had been a new lace cord in Flakstad in Lofoten. In a day, the snow volume was then increased by 65 centimeters to a total of 130 centimeters. The meteorologists, however, only have measurements back to 2007.

In Flakstad municipality in Lofoten, the schools were closed due to the enormous snow masses. In the afternoon, the coast guard vessel KV Heimdal went to Flakstad municipality to assist with evacuation of residents, wrote Lofotposten.

– We are considering whether they will be transported by car or whether it is safer to take them out by boat. KV Heimdal comes to Skjelfjord to contribute if necessary, said councilor Erling Sandnes to Lofotposten.

Crisis staff

A SeaKing rescue helicopter with two police officers was sent to the area. In Vestvågøy municipality, crisis staff has been set up and residents of Ballstad have been evacuated. A rescue boat has picked up residents at Ballstadland.

The police ask all the people in the Lofoten Islands to avoid avalanched areas.

– If you do not have to go out, the police recommend that you stay indoors until the avalanche danger has been clarified and the roads broke, the call from the Nordland police district reads.

The main road through Lofoten, E10, is closed from Nappstraumen and westwards. The avalanche warning service varsom.no denotes the avalanche danger avalanche in Lofoten as significant both Monday and Tuesday.

Leave on Tuesday

Geologist Odd Arne Mikkelsen will command the mountain parties on Tuesday morning, and the weather forecast is uplifting, writes Vestvågøy municipality in a press release. The Norwegian Public Roads Administration also comes with a helicopter, which the Armed Forces are providing, to shoot down snow parties.

It could provide valuable information about the condition of the snow parties, according to the geologist.

The avalanche danger in Lofoten is considered significant. Already there have been several avalanches west in Lofoten during Monday. No one has been injured so far, but when county governor Tom Cato Karlsen in Nordland got an orientation on the matter, he summed it up to NRK :

– An extremely dangerous situation.

Two geologists will consider when the evacuators can move back home.

(© NTB)

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