Storm battered southern Norway

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UPDATED: Communities along Norway’s south and west coasts were pounded by huge wages and strong winds over the weekend, as a major storm roared in from the North Sea. Some waves were described as “spectacular,” crashing at heights of eight meters (around 25 feet) over the country’s southernmost point at Lindesnes.

Huge waves had already been crashing over Stad, Norway’s West Cape, as residents battened down the hatches from Friday. The storm raged from Lindesnes in the south to Stad much farther north along the coast, as a strong low-pressure system moved in from Iceland.

Fjordline was among ferry companies halting traffic over Skagerrak between Kristiansand and Hirtshals in Denmark. Boat owners all along the coast took precautions to secure their vessels. Aslak Solbjørg, who lives on a boat near Ålesund, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that he and his wife doubled all the lines to secure their boat as the storm rolled in.

Seas were already half-a-meter higher than normal before the storm was due to hit Friday night, making it hard for many boat owners to reach their vessels because piers were under water.

Meanwhile, most highways over the mountains of southern Norway were closed Friday afternoon and many remained closed because of zero visibility and drifting snow. Avalanche danger was high, and some villages were cut off by new snow- and rock-slides that thundered down the mountainsides. Among them was Veitrastrond in Luster, in Sogn og Fjordane, which was isolated by a 400-meter-wide slide over the road leading into town.

Cars and trucks were backed up along the E134 highway over Haukelifjell, the state highway 9 between Haukeli and Hovden and state highway 7 over Hardangervidda. County road 50 over Hol to Aurland was closed as was Highway 45 in Aust-Agder and Telemark, between Rotemo and Skafså.

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