New storm pounds southern coast

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Driving was hazardous, roads were closed and ferries were canceled Friday morning as yet another storm crashed into Norway’s southern coast. State meteorologists characterized it as bordering on extreme weather, and sent out warnings for the Agder counties.

The entire country was being drenched by more unseasonal and heavy rain, which fell as snow only at higher elevations. Meteorologists reported bad weather from the southernmost areas of Norway to the far north, with transport disrupted many places in between as well.

Only convoy driving allowed
In Nordland County, the E6 highway over the mountains of Saltfjellet had to close during the night. Farther north, on the E69 highway between Skarsvåg and the North Cape in Finnmark,  motorists were only allowed to drive in escorted convoys.

The same convoy regulations applied on State Highway 7 over Hardangervidda, one of the main thoroughfares between Bergen in the west and Oslo in the east. Restrictions were also up on state highway 13 over Vikafjellet in Sogn og Fjordane and the E134 over Haukelifjell, while County Highway 51 over Valdresflya was closed.

The worst weather was in the far south, and wide areas of Rogaland County in the west was also hit by heavy rain. “It’s very stormy in Agder,” the state meteorologic institute wrote in a Twitter warning Friday morning. Weather forecaster Kristen Gislefoss told state broadcaster NRK that residents of the southern counties could also expect strong winds from the northwest.

‘Windy and wet’
“It’s both windy and wet, but it will get drier eventually,” Gislefoss told NRK. When most of the rain has stopped falling, winds will pick up, but more rain and even some snow in the east was forecast through the weekend.

The weather was causing problems for, among others, handball fans traveling by ferry to Denmark for the women’s world championships that start Saturday evening. Around 1,000 fans faced delays after Color Line had to cancel ferry departures from Larvik and Kristiansand to Hirtshals in Denmark, and from Sandefjord to Strömstad in Sweden.

Stena Lines cancelled its ferry from Oslo to Hirtshals Thursday evening, and many ferries in Nordland County had to remain berthed on Friday because of the winds and rough seas.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund