Residents of Seyðisfjörður, East Iceland, were evacuated from six of the town’s streets yesterday evening due to the danger of landslides. The National Police Commissioner, in consultation with the East Iceland Chief of Police and the region’s Met Office, has declared a phase of alert in the town due to landslide risk. Over a dozen of the town’s buildings were destroyed or heavily damaged by mudslides last December.
There was heavy rainfall in the town yesterday evening and across the region. Rain combined with thawing snow and above-freezing temperatures are conditions that increase the likelihood of landslides from the steep slopes above the fjord town. The evacuation was called “precautionary” by authorities, who are still evaluating whether the Botnabrún slope has destabilised further following the largest of the December landslides. Temperatures are expected to drop below freezing in the mountains on Thursday.
East Iceland experienced a high number of avalanches, slush floods, and landslides over last weekend. Three houses in Seyðisfjörður were also evacuated on Sunday, February 14 but the evacuation order was called off the following day.