Last week’s torrential rains continued through the weekend, broken up by a few periods of brilliant sunshine but also hail, snow and even something resembling a tornado. State meteorologists say the wild weather will continue throughout the autumn.
It’s still only August, but it was hard to convince hikers visiting the mountains of Jotunheim of that on Sunday. This is supposed to be prime hiking season, with mild temperatures and often clear days at the end of summer.
Imagine the surprise of hikers hoping to climb Norway’s highest peak, Galdhøpiggen, when they woke up to 40 centimeters of snow on Sunday. The wintry weather started late Saturday, forcing many hikers to retreat, and created major problems for motorists when they returned to their cars. They were covered with snow, the roads were slick and no one had mounted snow tires yet.
State highway officials also considered closing the highway running from Valdres north to Gudbrandsdalen, Valdresflya, after it also was covered with snow. Hikers making the traditional trek over the mountain ridge Besseggen were surprised as well, while riders in the annual Birkebeiner bike race weren’t prepared for the sudden chill.
Hail from the heavens
Motorists driving through both Østfold and Vestfold counties, south of Oslo, also got a surprise Sunday afternoon when a massive hail storm forced some cars off the main E-18 highway. The hail piled up on the roads and left gardens white.
Most of it came from what the Norwegian call a skypumpe, which resembles a tornado. The funnel cloud that descends from extremely black clouds isn’t as destructive, but brings with it torrential rain and hail.
Temperatures plummeted, down into the single digits celsius, and it was even colder elsewhere. In the northernmost county of Finnmark, temperatures sunk to minus-5.2C, one of the coldest August nights on record in the township of Tana.
Up north, the cold weather was caused by clear skies, unlike the almost constantly cloudy and rainy skies that have hovered over southern Norway in recent weeks.
“It’s very unusual that it gets this cold in August and we hadn’t expected it,” state meteorologist Eirik M Samuelsen told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).
Summer’s unstable weather is expected to continue throughout the autumn, reported newspaper Dagbladet. Warmer temperatures in the Atlantic are forecast to set off lots of storm systems that can form hurricanes in the south and “extreme weather” in the north, climate researcher Helge Drange told Dagbladet.
This week, however, had a promising amount of sunshine in the forecast. Daytime temperatures were expected in the mid- to high teens over most of southern Norway, and around 8-10C in northern Norway, but colder at night.