An avalanche in Neskaupstaður

The avalanche hit houses and swept up cars.

The avalanche hit houses and swept up cars. Photo/Karl Jóhann Birgisson

“I woke up to the thunder and then I waited for the click. I knew what was about to happen,” says Karl Jóhann Birgisson, a resident of Hrafnsmýri in Neskaupstaður, after an avalanche hit his house at 7:30 this morning.

According to Birgisson, there was a lot of devastation as the avalanche continued. “The flood engulfed the interior of the house, ripping the fences of the house apart before it passes over to the next house. My car was standing outside and it was swept up by the avalanche, ” says Birgisson. The two ton Volvo had nothing on the force of the flood, along with other cars. “There is a lot of damage here, but thankfully, everyone is safe,” he says.

Called 112 immediately

Birgisson says the house is built with regards to avalanche protection.

“In my memory there were a few seconds that passed after I heard the rumbling. My wife and I were on the top floor, and our house is built with regards to avalanche protection, so there are no windows on the north side, and we waited for this. Then I called 112 and announced that I was a resident of this house, and an avalanche had fallen and that all the people in this house were all safe.”


Kort Kort

He says that about an hour later they were picked up and taken to a relief center set up in the community hall Egilsbúð, where there are now 250 people and people are still coming in.

“Here people are hugging and trying to keep calm. It should not be forgotten that this is where a devastating avalanche struck in 1974, and many of us, of course, recall that disaster,” says Birgisson.

Evacuation in area 4

The Icelandic Met Office has decided to evacuate area 4 in Eskifjörður to be safe.

The Met Office’s alert level has been declared in Eskifjörður due to unstable snowfall, with heavy snow falling in the northeast of the snowstorm.

Area 4 is inside of Bleiksá.


Light drizzle


7 °C



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8 °C

Warning: Yellow More