Yet another avalanche hits Tromsø

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Norway’s northern city of Tromsø, along with much of the northern region of the country, continued on Monday to be plagued by avalanches that have caused major emergencies throughout the Easter holiday week. Monday’s slide hit frighteningly close to home, in a residential area and close to a local school.

The avalanche could be seen clearly from downtown Tromsø, just across the water, when its mounds of snow crashed down the mountainside just below a popular recreation area. “We could see that the snow began to move on the mountainside,” Marit Martinsen Dahle, who was exercising in front of a window at an athletic center near Skarven in Tromsø, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “It looked like it just tore out the whole side of the mountain.”

Witnesses estimated the slide was as much as 200 meters wide, and it set off a major search and rescue operation. It extended from the summit called Storsteinen, 420 meters above sea level, down towards Reinen School, located south of Tromsø bridge on Solstrandvegen in Tromsdalen.

The school was closed for the last of the long stretch of Easter holidays in Norway, so no one was present when the avalanche thundered down around 2pm. It stopped above the school and none of its buildings was damaged.

Around 20 search and rescue workers combed the area afterwards, as ambulances gathered and a helicopter whirred overhead. Police called off the search around 3:30pm because of dangerous conditions for the emergency workers and because they didn’t think any persons were caught in the avalanche. Even though a popular trail runs through the area, Fred Johansen of the Tromsø Police told NRK that no one was reported missing and they don’t think anyone was on the trail.

Tromsø has been hit by lots of snow and strong winds, weather that can contribute to avalanches. The area along with much of Troms County has been hit with a series of avalanches in recent weeks, some fatal, and several communities including Breivikeidet remained isolated on Monday because of closed roads and cancelled ferries.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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