Sudden heat wave shocked Karasjok

Vast areas of Northern Norway broke all previous temperature records over the weekend, with thermometers in the Arctic city of Karasjok hitting well over 30C (86F) on Saturday. Many spots in the northern counties of Finnmark, Troms and Nordland were much warmer than the Canary Islands, but cooler weather was forecast for this week.

It's not very often that folks plunge into the chilly waters around the Arctic city of Alta, however inviting they may look, but they did over the weekend when temperatures were higher than in Southern Europe. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

It’s not very often that folks plunge into the chilly waters around the Arctic city of Alta, however inviting they may look, but they did over the weekend when temperatures were higher than in Southern Europe. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

The thermometer at the Statoil station in Karasjok in Finnmark read 34 degrees on Saturday (93F), fully 80 degrees higher than on the coldest day last winter, reported newspaper Aftenposten.

At Engeløya in Nordland County, the temperature was already 26C at 5am, reported Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK), while weather stations from Nyrud in the far northeast to Alta and Tromsø farther west were breaking records as well.

The warm weather prompted some brave souls to plunge into the normally frigid waters of the Langfjord near Alta. It was a rare opportunity to swim in the sea that some folks just couldn’t pass up.

NRK reported that the official weather station at the airport at Narvik recorded 29.9C at 6pm on Friday, another new record. It was, by comparison, just 20C in Las Palmas and cooler in many other spots in Southern Europe as well.

‘Extreme air masses’
State meteorologists said the unusually warm weather was a result of “extreme” air masses over Nordland sent by a high-pressure system from the northeast that in turn had sent warm air from the Black Sea up to Northern Norway. It was also warm farther south in Norway and Sweden, but not as warm as up north.

“Right now we have among the warmest air masses in all of Europe,” state meteorologist Eirik Samuelsen told NRK. “It’s colder in Spain than it is in Norway. We have to go way down to southern Greece to find temperatures as warm as we have.”

The warm weather wasn’t expected to last, though, with new pressure systems moving in on Sunday that were forecast to result in much cooler weather from Monday. A high of 21C was predicted for Monday in Kirkenes but by Tuesday, for example, official forecasts called for cloudy skies and a high of just 11C (52F) with a low of 6 (43F).

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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