Northern Norway braced for a storm

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Schools closed, shops shut down and most forms of transport ground to a halt as a severe winter storm moved in over northern Norway on Tuesday. The storm, called Ask , caused some damage but wasn’t as bad as expected and there were no reported injuries.

“We’re not taking any chances, and we’re sending 190 students home before it really breaks loose,” said Lars Brekke, principal at Ballstad School in Lofoten, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) Tuesday afternoon. Nor was the manager of a Bunnpris grocery store in Ramberg. “We’re closing at 4pm,” said Siv Engan at Bunnpris.

State meteorologists had started issuing storm warnings on Sunday and urged people to stay indoors. “When there’s such strong wind, no one should be outside,” Bård Fjukstad of the state meteorological institute told newspaper Aftenposten . “This is dangerous weather.”

Residents of Finnmark, Troms and Nordland counties were earlier told to take any loose items like snow shovels or planter boxes inside and secure outdoor furniture, bicycles or other equipment. It was also a good idea to stay away from plate glass windows. The roof of at least one cabin had blown off at Gravdal in Lofoten by mid-morning.

Most heeded the advice and reports of damage when the storm died down Wednesday were minimal. There were no reported injuries either, according to NRK.

The coastal shipping line Hurtigruten cancelled calls at several small ports on Tuesday and only sailed between larger towns. The MS Vesterålen , for example, sailed directly from Harstad to Bodø and avoided Lofoten, which was expected to be hit the hardest. Many ferries cancelled routes altogether, while highway officials closed several roads and bridges.

The storm was also felt farther south along Norway’s west coast, with rough weather around the West Cape at Stad.