NGI operates monitoring and snow avalanche forecasting at local and regional level on behalf of the private and public sectors. The warnings are used locally to deal with the risk of residence or work in avalanche prone areas.
Steep and winding access to Lysebotn 2 site
The winter of 2016-17 marked the third consecutive year of NGI's avalanche warnings to workers constructing the new power station, Lysebotn 2, in Rogaland county. Much of this construction work has taken place in the mountains at Strandvatnet, about 650 meters above sea level. The road leading up from Lysebotn to the plant is narrow, winding and with steep slopes above and below the road, significantly increasing avalanche risk.
- Our greatest fear in winter, is the threat of an avalanche burying a car with several people – or a minor avalanche pushing the car over the road edge, says Renathe Falch Gjone, HSE and Quality Manager for the main contractor Implenia Norway.
Renathe has received NGI snow forecasts over the three previous winter seasons. She has based her decision to consider road-closure based on these.
- It did not happen many times last winter, but there were some days that we just let it snow and then plowed it up again due to bad weather conditions, says Renathe.
The longest period of road-closure lasted for five days.
- The avalanche warnings are an aid to assess the safety of traveling up and down to Strandvatn, as well as working in some of the Strandvatn areas. When in doubt, we have contacted NGI for advice.
The avalanche forecasts only apply for the following day, but in cases where weather forecasted has been poor for lengthy periods, it has been reassuring to have professional support to assess the need for road-closure, possibly for several days at a time. Prolonged road-closure has been necessary several times based on NGI's continual assessments.
Lysebotn 2 will replace today's power plant and is to provide an increase of 180 GWh renewable power generation. This is one of Norway's largest hydroelectric projects, producing 15 % more energy without impacting and regulating new water courses. Commissioning is scheduled for Spring 2018.
NGI's avalanche warning assignments 2017-2018
- The Strynefjellet mountain pass on Highway 15 at is monitored for Mesta. Daily avalanche warnings are produced to safeguard work related to snow removal and road maintenance and as a decision tool to evaluate road-closure.
For Fosen Wind AS and Statkraft, monitoring is provided for the avalanche-prone area on the Storheia, 5 km south of Årnes in Åfjord, North-Western Norway. This is the location where a part of Europe's largest land-based wind power plant is to be built.
16 municipalities have joined forces in Northern Norway to establish "Nordnorsk Skredovervåking", (Arctic Landslide Monitoring). All municipalities here have settlements that are prone to avalanches. The monitoring and avalanche warning program covers 42 locations. Local contact persons contribute with observations and reports.
- Sunnmøre has several avalanche-prone roads. NGI contributes local assessments of weather and snow conditions that could indicate avalanches reaching roads.