State meteorologists were warning of extreme weather systems moving over the northern counties of Nordland and Nord-Trøndelag during the New Year’s week, as freezing temperatures and heavy snow give way to milder temperatures, strong winds and heavy rain. Avalanches threatened the large island of Senja, just south of Tromsø, and many other areas in Northern Norway.
“We have boosted staffing to monitor the situation as closely as possible,” Rafael Kuhnel of the weather service Vervarslinga for Nord-Norge told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Sunday evening. “We are on the verge of sending out forecasts of extreme weather.”
Winds and blizzards already have boosted the danger of avalanches on Senja, which was subject to road closures around the island over the weekend because of heavy snowfall. Some communities were completely isolated and reachable only by ferries, which in turn had to navigate stormy seas.
Meteorlogists warned Sunday that a new storm system was moving towards the north-central portions of Norway, meaning that Trøndelag and Nordland could expect strong winds and heavy rain as temperatures rose. That in turn could set off flooding and avalanches following the snowstorms of the past few days.
The weather was due to be especially bad during the night between Monday and Tuesday, with as much as 100 millimeters of rain expected in a 24-hour period.
Coastal areas brace for the worst
Kuhnel said that those living along the coast of Nord-Trøndelag and Nordland counties will be hit the hardest, while inland residents will experience a sudden spike in temperatures and stormy weather as well.
“The rain is due to start tonight (Sunday) and increase through the week,” Kuhnel told NRK. He said the storms would continue until Thursday, making for a turbulent New Year’s Eve in many areas of Norway. Southern Norway was due for relatively calm weather, though, after several days of extremely cold temperatures.
Anne Gunvor Berthling, a senior engineer at Norway’s state agency in charge of waterways NVE, said that flood warnings were at a high level. “We’re looking at an unusually warm and wet New Year’s Eve,” she told NRK. That can also mean difficult driving conditions, not least because of slick roads.