Most Norwegians were settling into what amounts to at least a five-day weekend beginning on Saturday, and many were cheered by forecasts of a traditional white Christmas over most of the country. State meteorologists warned it would likely be very cold, though, also in the southern parts of the country, where skies would also be mostly grey.
The west coast from Stavanger north to Ålesund and Trondheim looked set to get the most sunshine, at least through Sunday the 23rd (known as lillejulaften, or “Little Christmas Eve”). The mountains around Oppdal also were expected to have mostly clear skies until Wednesday, good news for all those spending the Christmas holidays in the popular mountain area with lots of holiday cabins.
Mostly clear skies were expected in the far north, too, and even though the sun disappeared below the horizon several weeks ago, residents could look forward to the special dusky light of midday and, possibly, more dazzling displays of the Northern Lights.
Temperatures were forecast to fall way below the freezing point, down to as low as minus-19C on Christmas Eve in Kautokeino and minus-18C on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard even farther to the north.
Sub-freezing temperatures were predicted for most of the county, down to minus-10C in Oslo over the weekend and around minus-7C on Christmas Eve, when snow was expected to fall over most of southern Norway. Flurries were also expected on Saturday and Sunday. The sunshine in Bergen and Ålesund was also likely to be replaced with snow on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, when temperatures might creep over the freezing point and turn to sleet or rain.
Prospects were thus bright for those dreaming of a white Christmas with enough snow for skiing. Most alpine ski centers were open for business with lifts running and slopes offering a combination of natural snow and more from snow-making machines. Cross-country skiers could also set off over prepared ski tracks, also in the marka (forest) areas around Oslo, but ski association officials warned of some hard and icy conditions.
“Apart from a few coastal areas in the south, it will stay cold over most of the country,” Arild Mentzoniof the state Meteorological Institute told news bureau NTB. He cautioned that driving conditions in the mountains of southern Norway, and especially in the Agder counties, could be challenging over the long holiday period. Agder was expected to get the worst winter weather, with forecasts of another storm along the coast on Saturday and Sunday. Winds were due to die down on Monday.
Southeastern Norway, known as Østlandet, was also due for blustery winter weather with snow and slightly rising temperatures but mostly still below the freezing point.
Norwegians were also marking the exact time, as 12:12pm on Friday, when solen snur (literally, the sun turns around) and the days will start getting longer again. Known as vinter solverv in Norwegian (the winter equinox), the sun will slowly start rising earlier and higher again, with several more minutes of daylight every day.
Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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