July is traditionally vacation time in Norway, when sun seekers flock to southern Europe. This year, they may have been better off staying at home – temperatures up to 32 degrees Celsius were forecast in Oslo on Tuesday and Wednesday, higher than in Athens.
The predicted top in Athens was only 30 degrees, reported newspaper Aftenposten. Oslo was also going to be hotter than London, Paris, Berlin, Brussels and Barcelona. “I’m traveling to Zakynthos tomorrow, but it’s questionable whether it will be much better than this,” said Fredrik Bråthen while playing volleyball with friends by the packed-out Huk beach on Oslo’s Bygdøy peninsula.
“Now the weather is nice over almost all of Norway,” said state meteorologist Pål Evensen. “It is not often that there is stable warmth over the entire country, and that it lasts as long as it has now. High pressure blocks like this are relatively rare. It is not something we can count on every summer.” The high pressure system sat over northern Europe, with continental winds from the south and east. Passing afternoon showers were forecast for eastern Norway on Tuesday.
Meteorologists expected temperature records would be broken in several places. Tropical nights were forecast for many parts of Norway this week, where the overnight temperature does not drop below 20 degrees Celsius.
Emergency services warned the high temperatures increased the risk of forest fires in many parts of the country.
The heat also posed some complications for Norway’s rail networks, expanding and changing the shape of train tracks and slowing some train lines to a snail’s pace. “So far we have had eight “sun bends” and around 12 incidents which have forced us to stop,” Bjørn Terje Opsalhagen, the rail manager at train network Jernbaneverket‘s Dovrebanen south division told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “It is probably double what we saw last year, so we’re checking the tracks daily.”
While forecasters said the heatwave would pass by the end of the week, Norwegians could expect more fine weather. “An opening for a low pressure system will come from the west next week,” said Evensen. “Then it will not be quite as hot as we’ve had it now, but more normal summer weather.”