Three avalanches struck Neskaupstaður, a town in the Eastfjords, in the night and early morning of March 26-27. Morgunblaðið reports.
One of these avalanches is reported to have hit an apartment building, breaking windows and burying cars.
A state of emergency has been declared in the area by The Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management. Communications Director for Civil Protection, Hjördís Guðmundsdóttir stated: “The National Police Commissioner, in consultation with the police chief in East Iceland, has declared a public safety emergency due to the avalanches that fell in Neskaupsstaður this morning, Monday, March 27. It has been decided to evacuate other areas where there is a risk of avalanches, both in Neskaupstaður and in Seyðisfjörður. Mass relief centres have been opened in both places […] Rescuers are working on site. ICE-SAR teams have been called out, and the Road Administration is working with us to clear the way for rescuers. An emergency has been declared in Neskaupstaður, and residents are advised to stay at home and on the side of the house facing the hillside.”
Visibility conditions in the area are reported to be poor, and clearing the way for rescuers may take into the evening.
Note: The Icelandic Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for east parts of the country today 27. mars. Mountain roads are closed from Vík in the south to Egilsstaðir in the east and will not reopen until the weather gets better, Next info around 13:00. #IcelandRoads
— Vegagerðin | Iceland Roads (@Vegagerdin) March 27, 2023
The state of emergency is expected to be in effect for the rest of the day while rescue operations are underway. The coast guard ship Þór has also been dispatched to the area to aid in rescue operations.
Initial reports indicate some damage to property, but no injuries or deaths.