From Iceland — Record Breaking Avalanche In Flateyri

Record Breaking Avalanche In Flateyri

Published January 17, 2020

Sam O'Donnell
Photo by
Magnús Einar Magnússon/Vísir

Experts from the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) have measured the avalanche in Flateyri, and determined that it is the largest one to cross an avalanche barrier.

According to the results, the landslide flooded the roads and highways with snow which poured over the protection wall.

The avalanche barrier is only supposed to divert the snow, not stop it entirely, yet it was not entirely diverted and covered large swaths of the town in thick layers of snow. Vegetation, signage, houses, and other structures were destroyed in the wake of this disaster. Along the barrier outside the town are thick drifts of snow, many meters high with irregular ridges.

Measurements from IMO indicate that wind speeds reached 45-60 meters per second. These measurements provide valuable information on the flow of avalanches. While the measurements of the volume of snow from the avalanche is unavailable, based on available information, it is estimated that this landslide may be similar in size to the one that shook Flateyri in 1995.

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