NGI's avalanche warning service
Snow avalanches constitute a major danger for many roads, rail roads, houses and work places in Norway. Some of them are especially exposed or vulnerable. NGI carries out monitoring and daily avalanche forecasting for both private and public clients.
As a rule people should not stay or work in avalanche prone terrain. In many cases though some activity is necessary also during winter. The risk increases with the time of exposure in avalanche terrain. Avalanche danger varies daily and sometimes from hour to hour. Some periods can be really calm with low probabilities for avalanches hitting the road or the object in focus. With a daily warning system for avalanche danger the risk can be actively managed. Presence and activities in avalanche prone areas can be restricted to days when avalanche danger is low enough.
NGI's forecasting service helps public and private clients handle the risk at a local scale. We follow the situation closely every day for limited areas all over the country.
NGI has a long history of avalanche forecasting, dating back to 1973. Increasing demands when it comes to safety has caused even closer follow-up of the areas and more detailed avalanche warnings.
All the warnings are based on available weather and snow observations as well as weather forecasts for the next 48 hours. The produced forecasts are in accordance with the standards of the European Avalanche Forecasting Services such as the European danger scale for snow avalanches and the avalanche problems.
Two avalanche experts from NGI's forecasting group are making the forecasts, discussing them in detail before they are ready to send out to the clients via SMS and e-mail. The forecasts are customized to fit each area and client.
These daily avalanche forecasts are concentrating on avalanches that can threaten people, houses or business in the specific warning areas. They specify both the avalanche danger level and the probability that the object in focus will be hit by an avalanche during the next 24 hours. In some cases the warnings can therefore deviate from the warnings found at varsom.no – the Norwegian regional avalanche forecasting service especially built up for outdoor activities.
For the areas where daily forecasts are issued the avalanche danger is considered every morning. The forecasts are sent out independently of danger level. If the avalanche danger is 4 or 5 we will make a second forecast also in the afternoon. Each area has weather stations giving us updated weather observations every hour. Daily observations from clients and observation trips done by the NGI avalanche experts are also important for the quality of the warnings.
The forecasts are used as a basis when the clients consider the safety situation in their area. NGI only consider the avalanche danger and the probability that the object will be hit. The client is responsible for road closures, evacuations etc.
NGI is an active member of the "European Avalanche Warning Services". The warning service provided by NGI is in accordance with the recommendations and standards prepared by EAWS.