Heavy rains drench the southwest

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Residents of Norway’s southwest coast were mopping up on Thursday after heavy rains set off flooding and landslides. The main train line between Kristiansand and Stavanger was blocked, several homes were evacuated and highway crews had to close some tunnels and roads.

The counties of southern Rogaland and west Agder were hit the hardest, as rain poured down during the past two days. The train line known as Sørlandsbanen was disrupted by a landslide at Moi Wednesday evening, but state railway NSB managed to resume service Thursday morning.

The tracks were “hanging in the air,” Kurt Løkingholm of the Rogaland Police District told reporters after the landmass under them was washed away. Several nearby homes were also evacuated.

NSB, however, re-opened service using just one of the intact tracks through Moi station. Delays were expected, however, and the station itself remained closed.

Heavy rains also forced closure of the Finnfast tunnel outside of Stavanger, because rocks, gravel and water ran into the tunnel and pumps couldn’t handle the deluge. The highway between Odda and Tyssedal was also closed by a landslide.

State meteorologists blamed the flooding and landslides on “a lot of precipitation during a relatively short period.” Flood warnings remained in effect for Rogaland, Vest- and Aust-Agder, Telemark and Vestfold counties.

The Oslo area and eastern Norway were spared any major problems and flood warnings issued on Tuesday were lifted on Wednesday. The sun broke through heavy clouds in Oslo Thursday morning and the forecast for the weekend called for clearer and colder weather.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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