Warming weather raises avalanche risk

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An avalanche expert has warned that warming temperatures forecast for eastern Norway from Thursday will significantly raise the risk of avalanches in mountain areas. The risk of triggering an avalanche is already very high in steep areas.

Hemsedal-based avalanche expert Per Ola Seim told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) when the weather alternates between cold systems with snow to warmer temperatures, a hard layer is formed on the snow. When the next cold front comes through with wind and fresh snow dumps on top of the crust, it creates an avalanche danger.

“If early in the morning you see that snow has fallen from the rooftops around you, it’s an indication avalanches may release in the mountains that day too,” said Seim. “If there is a lot of loose snow on top of the crust, it can be dangerous. We can see from the layering between the hard and loose snow that it’s unstable.”

Seim said a large amount of snow isn’t needed to trigger an avalanche, and even a thin layer can be dangerous. He also warned recent strong winds have whipped snow around slopes facing in every direction, creating unstable snow drifts and gullies in the terrain.

Several people were killed in avalanches last year, near Narvik in November, on Senja and near Tromsø over Easter, and at Hemsedal in January.

newsinenglish.no staff