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Friday, May 20, 2022

Fierce storm hits northern Norway

A severe autumn storm rolled over northern Norway on Monday, ripping the roof off dozens of homes, knocking down power lines and closing the airport at Tromsø. Meteorologists said winds were the strongest in 20 years.

A key weather service (Værtjenesten) on Andøya clocked gusts at 109 knots, much higher than the 64 knots that qualifies for a hurricane.

Police, firefighters and ambulance services were braced for trouble after the storm knocked out electricity and telephone lines in Senja and other areas.

“Folks in northern Norway have always managed well in a storm and know enough to stay calm and be careful,” Dr Mads Gilbert, the doctor famed for his work in Gaza who was on duty Monday night at the University Hospital for Northern Norway, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “But of course, situations can come up and then folks need to check that their mobile phones are working.”

Glenn Hansen from Myre in Vesterålen told NRK that the storm ripped off his roof and rain was pouring in to his living room. He bought his house in 2005 and had just finished putting a new roof on it last month.

“I don’t know where I’ll sleep tonight,” Hansen told NRK. “It won’t be here.”

Police in Midtre Hålogaland were recommending residents of Bleik and Andenes to stay indoors. “We’ve had nearly 30 reports of roofing flying off and even the civil defense is pulling back now,” said Grete Birkeland of the Midtre Hålogaland Police District, adding that it was dangerous to be outdoors because of flying objects.

Ferry traffic was halted all over northern Norway Monday afternoon and Tromsø Lufthavn (Airport) had to close. The power was out in large portions of Senja, Lyngen, Storfjord, Rebbenesøya, Skogsfjord, Dåfjord and Skarsfjord.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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