Weather sets new unwanted records

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As residents over much of southern Norway woke up to another day of heavy leaden skies and forecasts of even more rain, came news that only three summers since 1951 have been as overcast as Oslo’s summer so far this year. Tempertures have also been lower than normal.

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported how rain-weary Norwegians are rushing to try to arrange alternative summer vacation plans at the last minute, in the hopes of enjoying at least a bit of sunshine and warmth. Flights to southern Europe are packed, with both Star Tour and Ving, for example, reporting huge increases in demand that they can’t always meet.

Bailing out
While many Norwegians are still intent on traditional summers along the coast or in the mountains, others are giving up on spending their precious holiday time at their hytter (cabins) or elsewhere in Norway, as the country’s three weeks of traditional fellesferie (summer holiday) gets underway.

The blue skies and sunshine of their dreams simply haven’t been seen much at home this year. Statistics from the state Meteorologic Institute show that not only has this summer been wetter than usual, there were fully 19 overcast days in Oslo between June 1 and July 9. Cloud cover is measured three times a day, and almost every other day has been logged as completely overcast.

Nor do the weather forecasters have much encouraging news. “It looks like the unstable weather will continue,” state meteorologist Børje Johansson told newspaper Aftenposten. “There’s a low pressure system over all of southern Scandinavia, lots of clouds and periods of heavy showers, especially in the inland areas.”

It’s the third summer in a row that southern Norway has experienced lots of grey, cool and wet weather. Oslo has even logged more days of rain than Bergen, the Norwegian city best known for rainy weather.

There have only been two fully clear, sunny days in Oslo since June 1st, Johansson noted, but he said prospects were better for coastal areas from the Swedish border south and west towards Larvik, Kragerø, Arendal, Kristiansand and Mandal next week. Weather in northern Norway has been mostly cool but clearer than in the south.

Boom times for weather forecasting site
The unstable weather has at least meant another burst in traffic for the increasingly popular Norwegian website yr.no (external link), a joint venture between state broadcaster NRK and the Meteorological Institute. More than 4.6 million unique visitors from within Norway clicked in last month alone to check local forecasts free of any charge. They’ve been joined by another 2.8 million visitors from neighbouring Sweden and 304,430 from Denmark, reported Aftenposten this week.

The website presents forecasts free of charge in English and offers international weather data from the European meteorological center in the UK, so it also has attracted visitors from all over the world because of its detailed forecasts for precise locations. More than 160,000 unique visitors clicked in from South Africa, for example, in June as well.

“As far as we can understand, a newspaper for farmers in South Africa has discovered our weather service,” Erik Bolstad, an editor for websites within NRK, told Aftenposten. “They’re printing our forecasts and our web address, so many (of their readers) have clicked in.”

More than 200,000 persons have visited the site from the UK, which also has been having a cool and rainy summer, along with even one visitor from the Marshall Islands in the South Pacific.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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