Houses in Iceland Cleared Due to Avalanche Risk Skip to content

Houses in Iceland Cleared Due to Avalanche Risk

Four houses, inhabited by 14 people, in Bolungarvík in the West Fjords had to be evacuated last night because they are located in an avalanche danger zone below Mt. Tradarhyrna and weather conditions are risky.

Snow drifts in mountains overlooking Ísafjördur are also being closely monitored but conditions there have not become critical yet. Authorities will reassess the situation today, Fréttabladid reports.

“It is certainly uncomfortable, but we are not gravely concerned,” said Bolungarvík inhabitant Sigurdur Kjartan Hálfdánarson. “But it is best to be on the safe side because there is a considerable amount of snow here now. More than I’ve seen in a while.”

Hálfdánarson, his wife Málfrídur Thorvaldsdóttir, and their three young children had to leave their home last night. Hálfdánarson, who was raised in Bolungarvík, said this is the first time his family has had to leave their home because of avalanche risk.

“Until now we have watched others leave but now it’s our turn,” Hálfdánarson said, adding that his family is staying with his mother and that his children had just been excited to experience “an adventure at grandma’s.”

Three of the families whose houses had to be evacuated are staying with friends of family but the municipality found accommodation for the fourth.

Considerable snowfall has been reported in Bolungarvík; last night the precipitation measured more than 20 millimeters per 24 hours. A strong wind from the northwest was forecast last night, which increases risk of avalanches from Tradarhyrna.

The village experienced similar weather conditions in February 2007 when an avalanche fell on a house close to the houses that have now been cleared.

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