Severe storm hits the west and north
March 3, 2011
The worst storm of the season has been rolling over western and northern Norway since Wednesday, closing roads and bridges, forcing vessels into port and leaving thousands without power from Trøndelag in the south to Finnmark in the north.
The storm started Wednesday afternoon and raged throughout the night, reports yr.no, with winds so strong that not even the state meteorological institute had a full overview. Institute officials hadn’t been able to collect data by midday Thursday, because several weather stations were without power.
State meteorologist Eirik Samuelsen could report, however, that winds blew at a rate of 29.2 meters per second at the Rotvær lighthouse at Ofoten in the Vest Fjord. The winds registered as “strong storm” for three full hours and are believed to have been among the strongest along the coast, at times as strong as 38.9 meters per second, Samuelsen said.
The island of Røst off Lofoten, the airport at Bodø, and areas along the coasts of Helgeland and Nord-Trøndelag all registered full storm, with seas so high that the gas ferry Korsfjørd couldn’t make it into port. “Seven hours out on the fjord was no fun,” its captain told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).
Most ferry routes were cancelled plus the fast boat service between Trondheim and Kristiansund and a route between Kristiansund and Edøy. The large coastal voyage vessels of Hurtigruten were forced to drop several stops and all helicopter traffic was cancelled. Oil and gas installations in the North Sea including those on the Norne and Heidrun fields were cut off from helicopter access because of the storm.
The storm moved northeast from the counties of Møre og Romsdal to Trøndelag and Nordland, and on Thursday it was raging over Troms and Finnmark. At the airport at Vadsø, officials resorted to special measures to keep grounded aircraft from being blown off the icy runways. They parked large, heavy machinery near one plane from airline Widerøe, to help block the wind.
Many roads and mountain passes remained closed on Thursday all over Troms and Finnmark, including the E6 highway at Nordnes and over Kvænangsfjellet. Thousands of households were also without power or television coverage, also at Lofoten.