Súðavík, September 2011

The small and friendly fishing village of Súðavík, 20 kilometres from Ísafjörður was partly destroyed by an avalanche, January 16, 1995 and 14 lives were lost. As a result the village was moved and the old houses were bought by the authorities and new ones built in a different area considered to be safe. It is now forbidden to live in the winter in the old village.

The village has been rebuilt in an area not threatened by avalanches and now offers services in grand buildings. All activities now prosper, the main ones being fishing and fish processing and catering to tourists. The annual income per person in Sudavik is the highest in Iceland. On the mountain, Súðavíkurhlíð, above the village, is a plateau. When the wind blows from the NW a ridge on the plateau allows snow to accumulate on the mountain edge above the main part of the old village. A severe snow storm that lasted for days after the avalanche fell made the rescue work difficult and dangerous. An avalanche from Traðargil later fell, hitting more houses in another part of the town, that had already been evacuated. Then yet another avalanche from Traðargil fell even further than the previous one. Avalanches fell from many other gullies and mountainsides during the avalanche cycle.

We stayed overnight in the old part of Súðavík.