Flooding threatens southern coast

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The latest storm to hit Norway’s coast, called Emil, wasn’t as severe as predicted but it left coastal areas under threat of extremely high sea levels. Emergency crews in the southern town of Mandal were scrambling to shield buildings from water damage, and considered closing off the downtown area.

State meteorologists withdrew their hurricane warnings on Wednesday and replaced them with warnings of rising sea levels, after Emil blew in over the North Sea following a destructive and deadly path over Scotland. Instead of ramming the southwestern Norwegian coast as expected, though, Emil veered farther south over Skagerrak and northern Denmark before moving on towards Sweden.

The storm churned up high seas that still posed a threat to coastal areas. The meteorologists’ warnings applied to the western and southern coasts (of Vestlandet and Sørlandet) and also southeastern Norway including areas around the Oslo Fjord.

The high sea levels were expected to hit their peak sometime Wednesday night, with warnings they could rise by 60 to 100 centimeters around the Oslo Fjord.

The state meteorological institute also warned that winds along the coasts of Vest-Agder and Rogaland counties would continue to be strong on Wednesday morning, but die down during the day.

In Mandal, a popular summer holiday destination on the southern tip of Norway, crews from the local fire department and civil defense force were setting up barricades made of sandbags, in an attempt to protect historic wooden buildings. The work was to continue throughout the day, reported Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK), because of fears the sea would flood into town.

Tuesday’s storm forced closure of the area’s main airport, Kjevik outside Kristiansand, but it reopened Wednesday morning.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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