12 Avalanches In East Iceland Over Single 24-Hour Period - The Reykjavik Grapevine

12 Avalanches In East Iceland Over Single 24-Hour Period

Published February 11, 2019

Andie Fontaine
Photos by
Art Bicnick

In the span of just 24 hours, twelve avalanches have fallen in the mountains of East Iceland, RÚV reports.

According to those monitoring avalanches in Iceland for the Icelandic Met Office, these were relatively small avalanches high up in the mountains. Regardless, they do pose a danger to those snowmobiling, hiking or cross-country skiing. Fortunately, no one has been caught in these avalanches.

Avalanches are not an uncommon phenomenon in Iceland. East Iceland typically gets more snowfall than any other region of the country, increasing the risk. This is especially the case in regions where mountains are particularly tall and steep, with danger of personal injury greater not only in areas that see a lot of wintertime activity, but also those regions where the mountains are closest to the shore—the vast majority of Icelandic municipalities are coastal.

Harpa Grímsdóttir, a representative of the Icelandic Met Office, has cited numerous factors that can set off avalanches.

“There is a risk that an avalanche could be caused by people themselves and their careless behaviour,” she told reporters last year. “It is advised not to go off the trail while hiking in popular destinations. Esja, for example, is a very dangerous mountain and there have been a lot of winter accidents there before. People tend to go off-guard when the sun finally comes out, but they really need to be careful and take precautions following such unpredictable weather.”

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