Norwegians were finally heading into the much-cherished Kristi himmelfarts (Ascension Day) weekend that traditionally signals the start of the summer hytte (cottage) season. The four-day holiday came late this year, because of the late Easter, but the sun was due to shine over much of the country.
Only Thursday is an official holiday, with schools, banks and most stores closed and no newspapers published, but many take off on Friday as well. Traffic was expected to be heavy out of the cities on Wednesday afternoon as folks fled to their cottages that are traditionally opened over the Kristi himmelfarts weekend.
This year, however, many hytter along the coast were opened during Easter itself or even earlier, because of unseasonably warm weather in April. The first big weekend after winter usually falls in May, quickly followed by the Pinse (Whitsund) weekend, but now both are in early June and for many, the cottage season is already in full swing.
Holidaymakers could also look forward to sunny skies and warmer temperatures following a period of strong winds, heavy rain and a late spring chill. State meteorologists were predicting brilliant sunshine over most of central and southern Norway and as far north as Trondheim.
“On Friday, Saturday and Sunday comes the summer weather we’ve promised, I guarantee that,” Bjart Eriksen of the state meteorologic institute told newspaper Aftenposten. The sun was already shining brightly over Oslo Wednesday morning with just a light breeze over the fjord.
By Saturday, some brave Norwegians likely will be tempted to jump into the fjord, as temperatures rise to as high as 25C (about 77F). The forecast was a bit less certain for Sunday, with both sunshine and a chance of showers in Oslo, but in the popular southern coastal holiday areas of Sørlandet, the forecast was brilliant throughout the weekend.
The sun was even due to shine in the mountains, from Hovden to Geilo and northeast to Oppdal. Temperatures at the higher elevations were also relatively high, with 23C predicted at Lillehammer and 18C at Hovden, Geilo and Oppdal. Trysil could expect 22C.
The unstable weather that settled over southern Norway last week was moving north, with rain and cooler temperatures of around 10C (50F) predicted for Mosjøen, Bodø and Harstad. It was due to be warmer in the far north, at Tromsø and Kirkenes on Thursday, but mostly chilly and rainy the rest of the weekend.
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