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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Snow stranded trains, closed roads

State meteorologists had warned of more severe weather disruptions in southwestern Norway over the weekend and they were right. Emergency crews were still trying to clear enormous mounds of snow off roads and railroad tracks on Sunday, after some areas were hit by more record-breaking winter storms.

At Jæren along the coast south of Stavanger, the snow piled up as high as four-and-a-half meters along the roads that were being cleared. “This is certainly not normal,” Erlend Aksnes, responsible for road-clearing, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “It’s been a very busy weekend.”

By Monday morning, most roads were open again. The area was supposed to get a break on Friday after a severe storm hit earlier in the week, but it mostly just kept snowing. Strong winds off the North Sea added to the storm chaos, and residents were told to stay indoors.

The weather left some in downright scary situations. Passengers on board one train that ground to a halt south of Stavanger ended up being stuck for hours, with no power and no heat. The repair train sent out to assist also got stuck in the snowdrifts and emergency crews from Norsk Folkehjelp (Norwegian People’s Aid) and the Red Cross were called out to help dig it out. The train eventually could get to the nearest station, where police took over responsibility for the passengers from state railway NSB.

In another case, an express bus from Oslo to Stavanger got stuck on the main E39 highway, stranding passengers on board for nine hours. A foreign-registered truck had itself gotten stuck in the snow, blocking the highway at Kyllingstad and stranding motorists in both directions.

A total of 52 main roads were closed in Rogaland and Agder, with the areas of Hå and Lende in Time hardest hit. Aksnes told NRK that all the roads his firm needed to clear were open, aided by a let-up in the snowfall and winds dying down on Sunday. staff



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