Heavy rainfall spoils holidays and leads to fatal accidents

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It’s raining again over most of southern Norway this week, and record amounts of rainfall in some areas have filled local creeks and rivers to flood stage. That led to some fatal accidents over the weekend.

Search and rescue efforts continued through Tuesday to find a father and daughter who lost control of their boat in a river at Hjartdal in Telemark County. Witnesses said the boat got caught in strong currents in the rain-fed river on Sunday, and that the two persons on board, a Swedish man and his young daughter from Denmark, fell into the water.

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that divers found the father’s body around mid-day Monday, about a kilometer downstream from where he and his daughter disappeared in the swirling masses of water. The little girl’s body was found Tuesday afternoon.

Local resident Ivar Haukås had told newspaper Aftenposten that he saw the man trying to hang on to his daughter and the boat. Haukås said the man lost hold just under the Sønderlands Bridge and both went over a waterfall. “After that I lost sight of them,” he said, adding that it had been impossible for him to reach them from the shore.

Their empty boat and an oar were later spotted downstream towards Sauland. Emergency crews kept searching along the banks for the daughter, and divers were in the river. Red Cross officials said there hadn’t been much chance of finding either alive.

In Rogaland County, meanwhile, a 22-year-old woman fell into a rain-swelled river she was trying to cross at Frafjordheiene and was swept away by the strong current. Her body was later found by a search and rescue helicopter in the lake Fidjavatnet downstream.

State meteorologists say more rain fell over the Kristiansand area from Friday night to Saturday night than normally falls during the entire month of July. Never before has so much precipitation been registered at the local Kjevik weather station, reports newspaper Fædrelandsvennen .

Weather forecasts had called forcontinued rain and stormy weather week before last, and they have proven accurate. Several homes in Kristiansand were flooded, as was a car dealership in Arendal. Some highways were forced to close, including RV 261 between Vennesla and Birkeland, and the Audna River reached flood stage in Mandal.

Rain was predicted through the rest of this week, meaning the entire three-week July holiday period known as fellesferie in Norway will mostly have been a soggy affair.