Pollfjellet: New AVYX avalanche radar system installed in Norway
Our newest avalanche radar system was installed in the village of Furuflaten in the north of Norway in February 2021. The AVYX avalanche radar monitors the southern slope of Mount Pollfjellet, which is around 50 km as the crow flies from Tromsø. The street located on the foot of the slope leads along the fjord and runs partially in the tunnel. At the southern end of the tunnel, however, the street is repeatedly hit by avalanches.
The regional authoroties TFFK (Troms og Finnmark fylkeskommune) have therefore decided to increase the road safety by purchasing an avalanche radar system with an alarm function. The avalanche radar detects events in real time at up to 2.5 km distance. In a first phase, the system notifies the responsible parties of an avalanche event by text message and email. In the winter 2021/22, traffic lights will be installed in both directions of travel on the section of the road that is at risk. The status of the traffic lights is controlled by the radar system. If an avalanche is detected, these traffic lights will automatically turn red immediately, stopping the road traffic at a safe distance.
Collaboration with Skred AS
The installation was performed by our Norwegian partner Skred AS and we supported it remotely. Over three days, the team from Skred AS installed the avalanche radar system in very foul weather conditions (sub-zero temperatures and wind). In addition to the 8 meter-tall mast with anchoring, the system consists of the radar device with an anti-snow system, a PTZ camera, a thermal imaging camera, control electronics and communication devices. The PTZ camera can be remotely controlled via the GEOPREVENT online data portal and makes it possible to cover a large image field but also small details. The camera also records situation images at regular intervals and additional event images and videos in case of an avalanche. The second camera is a thermal imaging camera, which also records interval images as well as event images.
In the first two weeks after installation, the avalanche radar has already registered 33 events. Around 75% of avalanches have occurred in poor visibility or at night. Shown below is the avalanche from midday on March 1, 2021. The avalanche dust cloud hits the entrance to the tunnel (right in the image) and then flows into the fjord.
About Skred AS
Skred AS is an independent Norwegian consulting and engineering company, specialized in the field of natural hazards. The team consists of hydrologist, geologist and engineers, working on projects spanning everything from hazard mapping to design of protection measures. They also offer avalanche warning and -control for working areas, buildings and other infrastructure located in avalanche terrain. Skred AS operates throughout Norway with offices in Ål, Voss, Kongsberg, Trondheim, Oslo and Tromsø. The clients include private individuals, developers, consultants and government agencies.