Icy weather grips southern Norway

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Bitterly cold temperatures that have hit southern Norway lately are due to continue for at least another week. While parts of the north are enjoying warmer weather, the south is locked in an icy grip with temperatures down to minus 35 degrees Celsius, the coldest readings so far this winter.

It's been bitterly cold in southern Norway recently including here at Frognerseteren in Oslo. In the distance, the Oslo Fjord, which is freezing over in several places. PHOTO: Pål Schage

It’s been bitterly cold in southern Norway recently including here at Frognerseteren in Oslo. In the distance, the Oslo Fjord, which is freezing over in several places. PHOTO: Pål Schage

It’s so cold in the southeast that Nortura, Norway’s leading supplier of poultry and eggs, was forced to close down all planned production of chicken meat at its plant in Elverum on Tuesday and lay off 100 of its employees. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that incoming chickens would not survive the planned drive from Trøndelag to the slaughterhouse, but the plant said production would be back up on Wednesday with chickens arriving from other parts of Norway.

The townships of Folldal and Tynset, both in inland Hedmark County, reached lows of minus 35.6C and minus 35.4C on Tuesday, reported newspaper Aftenposten. “These are the coldest temperatures we have seen so far this winter,” meteorologist Siri Wiberg Horjen told the paper.

Another six Norwegian weather stations measured temperatures colder than 30 degrees Celsius the same day, and the cold snap isn’t over yet.

Residents of southern Norway, especially inland and in the mountains, are likely to shiver for another week, forecasts show. “Southern Norway will experience temperatures down towards minus 30 degrees Celsius, if not colder, in parts of Hedmark, Oppland and Buskerud counties at least until next Tuesday,” meteorologist Bjørn Røsting told Aftenposten.

Warmer in the north
Northern parts of the country, meanwhile, were due to get both rain and snow as well as variable temperatures. Even Kautokeino, located on the notoriously cold Finnmark plateau where thermometers have been in the double-digit freezing range for weeks, was expected to warm up to a relatively balmy minus-1C by Saturday.

Warmer temperatures in the north and freezing air in the south are not necessarily unusual, according to the meteorologists. “The temperatures we have seen the last few days are well below normal inland in Hedmark, Oppland and South Trøndelag county, but they are not record readings,” Horjen said. “January is normally the coldest month of the year and stretches of cold weather are normal.”

According to Røsting, a high pressure system over mid-Scandinavia is the explanation behind the cold air sweeping over southern Norway. In Oslo, where it was lightly snowing on Wednesday, skies were due to clear and sunshine was forecast for Saturday but temperatures would drop again, down to minus-11C or even colder.

Those heading to mountain ski resorts over the weekend were advised to dress well and cover their faces, or even stay indoors by the fire. Thermometers were expected to read, for example, around minus-23 at Trysil, minus-17 at Geilo, minus-20 at Hovden and minus-15 at Oppdal.

Views and News from Norway/Aasa Christine Stoltz
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