Floodwaters recede, roads reopening

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Pouring rain and melting snow suddenly set off flooding in many areas of southern Norway this week, especially in Hedmark and Oppland counties. Several roads remained closed Tuesday morning but state officials think the flooding has topped out, for now.

Flooding threatened this portion of the main E6 highway just north of Hamar in Hedmark County, but on Tuesday morning, the water was receding. PHOTO: Statens vegvesen

Flooding threatened this portion of the main E6 highway at Åkersvika just north of Hamar in Hedmark County, but on Tuesday morning, the water was receding. PHOTO: Statens vegvesen

“Fortunately it looks like things have calmed down and that the worst is over,” Aud Riseng, divisional director for state highway department Statens vegvesen told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). She said that 10 county roads were still closed in Hedmark, “but all state highways are open.”

The Trysil area, best known as a popular skiing destination in the winter, was among the hardest hit, with its main river flooded far over its banks. Only one home had to be evacuated, however, and state waterways officials said water levels were declining on Tuesday.

The central city of Hamar, situated along the banks of Norway’s largest lake Mjøsa that’s fed by many rivers and creeks, was in a state of emergency preparedness. At one point, Riseng and her colleagues in the highway department’s eastern division feared they would need to close the main E6 highway running through the area.

That proved to be unnecessary but flood warnings were set at the high orange level with more rain forecast on Tuesday in Hedmark. Monday’s incessant and pouring rain in the Oslo area, meanwhile, had already let up and state meteorologists were predicting some welcome sunshine on Wednesday to help dry things up, also in Hedmark and Oppland.

“If there’s no more rain now, all our efforts will be put on getting all roads open again,” Riseng told NRK. “It will probably take time to open some of them, like County Road 157 in Løten, but others can re-open fairly quickly.”

Floodwaters also were receding along the E6 at Åkersvika in Hamar, where officials feared the main artery linking Southern- and Northern Norway would need to be closed. Farther east, in Trysil, residents were anxiously monitoring their river Trysilelva, which rose dramatically on Monday.

“We still have flooding, but there was much less rain during the night so the waters can have hit their top,” Trysil Mayor Erik Sletten told NRK. He noted that floodmarkers indicated the river had hit the level of a major flood in 1934.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund