Motorists warned as the first snow falls

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The first significant snow of the season fell around southern- and southeastern Norway over the weekend and on Monday, leading to some slippery roads from Telemark in the west to Hedmark in the east. Highway officials were quick to warn that motorists need to be wary, and get snow tires on their cars.

The snow wasn't threatening Oslo's main airport at Gardermoen yet, but when it falls in large quantities, teams of snowplows will be ready to clear it. PHOTO: Oslo Lufthavn AS/Espen Solli

The snow wasn’t threatening Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen yet, but when it falls in large quantities, teams of snowplows will be ready to clear it. PHOTO: Oslo Lufthavn AS/Espen Solli

The first snow fell in the counties of Telemark, Agder, Buskerud, Akershus, Oppland and Hedmark, mostly at higher elevations. The state meteorological institute, however, forecast that snow levels could fall below 500 meters.

“We can also get snow down at 300 meters, while we expect the precipitation to come in the form of snow from 400- to 500 meters,” state meteorologist Kristen Gislefoss told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) Sunday afternoon.

Gislefoss said there wouldn’t be large quantifies of snow, but he also warned that motorists need to be prepared.

“In most of these counties, folks are still driving on their summer tires,” Gislefoss said. “Even if there’s just a little bit of the white stuff on the roads, it can make for big surprises. A little bit of snow on the road changes driving conditions immediately.”

Norwegians usually don’t switch to winter tires until November 1 except in the northern counties of Nordland, Troms and Finnmark, where the date is usually set for October 16.

Police in southern Norway said they wouldn’t issue citations to those who already have changed to studded winter tires, even though they’re not supposed to be used until November. “Given the weather we’re having right now, it’s just fine with us if motorists put their studded winter tires on early,” Gisle Småge of the Sør-Øst Police District told NRK. “In some cases it’s necessary to change tires.”

He also advised that anyone driving up to the mountains should have winter tires on their vehicles.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund